Thursday, July 17, 2008

Earrings for Male Lawyers May Be
‘Fraught With Peril,’ Career Adviser Says

This news story, by Debra Cassens Weiss, came in over the ABA Journal Law News Now website:

Should male lawyers and law students in courthouses refrain from wearing earrings? A career adviser from the University of Minnesota Law School is advising caution.

“In the same way that women still must be careful about very short skirts, and in some courts they may still find that pants are frowned on by senior judges, guys and their earrings may still be fraught with peril,” writes Susan Gainen, director of the law school’s career and professional development center. She wrote on the Career and Professional Development Blog in response to a judicial extern who said a male clerk had assured him that earrings were acceptable.

“Your judge may not mind,” says Gainen, “but your peril may lie with clients and juries, two groups whose opinions you value but cannot survey in advance.”

This issue presents several interesting questions for any law student or lawyer to think about:

How much of yourself should you suppress in order to advance the interests of a client? Are you comfortable pretending to be something that you are not? Some people are much better able to do this than others.

How much of yourself will you suppress in order to attract more clients? Are you willing and able to have your office persona be quite different from the inner you?

In an interview setting, would you want to work for an employer who felt so negatively about the kind of person that you are or the way you express yourself? We all compromise to some extent, but where is your comfort zone?

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