• Dress styles come and go.
  • And dress styles in the workplace come and go.
  • What once was casual Friday has now become a five-day-a-week affair, including during job interviews.
  • So the question is, how does one dress to impress for their interview?

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I have thought a lot about this question over the years and I really believe I have the answer. The answer is as simple as this: Dress as you want to be seen. While this may seem an overly simplistic answer, I believe that with some further elaboration the meaning of this will become clear.

How Should Attorneys and Law Students Dress for Law Firm Interviews?
A. Harrison Barnes
Harrison Barnes

In my first law firm job out of law school, I worked in a law firm in Southern California that literally had been featured in magazines like Cosmopolitan and other trendy magazines because it had no dress code. Today this is the norm for a lot of law firms and other employers around the country. However, more than a decade ago this was considered extremely unusual – even in free spirited Los Angeles. This particular law firm loved to talk about how casual they were and how easy going things were because of no dress code. Partners would wear Hawaiian shirts, shorts and sandals, and the dress code of the firm really did contribute to a certain sense that things were much different here than they were in the formal New York City law firms most of the attorneys came from.

The thing I realized after being at the law firm for some time and being involved in the recruiting at the firm was that there were generally two types of people the firm interviewed: Those who came in dressed casually in shorts and those who did not. Law students loved to show up for interviews dressed ultra casually and really felt they were doing the right thing. More often than not, however, the law students did not dress casually, and it was even rarer that a lateral attorney candidate would dress casually.