Recently, a random Google searcher who used the words in the title above found our blog. The words “how to dress like a paralegal” gave me a swift kick in the paralegal skinny pants because of that random search and the fact that I’ve been dying to write a post on this subject for the past few months. I’m here to share the three things that, in my opinion, every paralegal in the world ought to possess. Even though you might not carry or wear these things every day, you had better have them.
Despite the fact that the legal profession has a number of different dress codes, including serious business, business-casual, and uber casual, I’m here to tell you that there is a “Trifecta” for paralegal attire that must be recognized. We’re going to talk about “The Paralegal Trifecta” today, whether you are a seasoned paralegal or a student carefully stepping up the rungs of the career ladder one carefully placed high heel at a time. ” Here goes:
ONE: A nice suit. This suggested item will be so obvious to many of you that you won’t understand how it came in at number one. (I’m totally with you on that. Truly. But I never cease to be astounded by the sheer number of paralegals I have met throughout my career who did not even bother to own a suit. I refer to it as “did not bother” because that appears to be the case. They do not bother to buy one.
I’m beginning to wonder by years 2-3 if you even realize that you need a suit to succeed in the business world, much less the legal field where you will be surrounded by people wearing suits frequently, if not daily. This is especially true of anyone working in litigation. (x 30,000).
It makes no difference whether your office is “major” business or business casual. Do not use the dress code as a crutch or an explanation. Imagine that you work in a place where wearing a sweater and jeans is sufficient most days. Perhaps you work in a setting where suits aren’t worn often, in which case dress slacks and a classy button-down shirt will do. However, regardless of the casual dress code at the office, you would need a suit if you had a job interview or a crucial meeting scheduled for tomorrow. Buy at least one nice suit for the love of all that is legal. Black is a great choice. Keep to conservatively styled solid or subtle patterned clothing.
My preferred suit retailer is Stein Mart, where you can purchase a suit worth $200 or more for about $100 without a coupon or a sale. However, I had to advance to the nicer suits. At first, I used to buy suits for $50 to $60 at places like Kohl’s or JC Penny’s. And you better believe I continued to look for sales and coupons. When purchasing a new suit, keep track of whether it requires dry cleaning only or washing. Always look for suits in the latter category if you don’t have the money for dry cleaning (it adds up). Shop smart. But please do shop for at least one suit!.
TWO: A Padfolio. Think of this as an accompaniment to your suit. Where it goes – your padfolio goes. These two items generally go hand-in-hand, much like conjoined twins. Bring the suit and the padfolio to any important meetings, interviews, or paralegal events. Unless, of course, you already know that business casual is the dress code, in which case your padfolio can function without it.
In addition to keeping you organized and providing you with a solid platform on which to take notes when you find yourself in less than ideal writing situations, a padfolio also helps you to come across as more poised, polished, and professional at first glance. During the jury selection process, I can’t even begin to describe how much I adore my padfolio. I usually sit behind my attorneys’ table because it provides a stable writing surface and enables me to appear far more “with it” and organized than I otherwise would. I would be frantically scribbling notes on a flimsy notepad that was teetering across the top of my lap, sliding left, sliding right, and if I’m lucky, sliding back to center… with a glimmer of notepad-rollercoaster-wrangling shining out from
Choose a padfolio with a conservative appearance and a solid color or one with a very subtle pattern. Great colors to choose are: black, brown, gray or navy. Most will have extra space to store (did I say “store,” I really meant shove…) documents in addition to having a slot for you to insert a regular-sized notepad, a few pens, and your business cards.
THREE: An Oversized Handbag or Briefcase. Consider yourself entering a courtroom for the first time in your mind. Legal-sized charts for voir dire/jury selection, several note pads, a variety of pens, highlighters, and fine-point felt tip markers, as well as large and small Post-it notes, granola bars, a bottle of nail polish (for ladies), your wallet, a fabric softener sheet in case your hair starts to fly crazy static into the wind, your car keys, breath mints or gum, your parking stub, your cell phone, and chapstick are all things you’ll , as well as a few other things that I’m probably not thinking of right now
That crucial moment when your lawyer asks you for a pad of post-it notes because he can’t seem to find one of the six you put in front of him at the table earlier that day? It’s finished. Your legal team’s official use of (or misplacement of) the armada of notepads in front of them is complete. With this small supply collection, you’ll resemble a trial-need-fulfilling ninja. You’ll be hurling highlighters and voir-dire charts through the air instead of those tiny pointy stars, though. Wa-chaw.
Choose a handbag that is solid in color, such as black, brown, gray, or navy, and make sure it can fit at least a regular-sized notepad. If the documents aren’t being filed with the court or aren’t that important, you can always fold and clip the pages, but you’ll need to make room in your handbag or briefcase for notepads. You never know when you’ll be called over to a witness in the hallway, approach by an expert or lawyer who starts to share really important, unexpected information with you in the hallway, or even in the restroom. (Yes, this has actually happened to me. (I can assure you that you will be grateful to have a supply arsenal tucked under your arm at this precise moment.
Avoid being one of those paralegals who enters the courtroom without a bag at all or with a handbag that is obviously insufficient to hold everything you need to have as the legal team’s concierge and legal-tactical assault ninja. Wa chaw. Where you go, a bounty of necessary supplies goes.
On this paralegal holiday, also known as “Friday,” may you have a truly wonderful day working alongside those brave, resilient souls in the legal trenches before slipping out the door in your high heels or slip-on oxfords. Just tell your husband or wife that the TPS Founder said you MUST go shopping and have a happy shopping, my friends. It’s a career requirement.
Dress Code for the Paralegal
What to wear to work as a paralegal
Here are some recommendations for choosing your paralegal attire. It’s crucial to keep in mind that the recommendations and requirements specific to your office should take precedence over the advice presented here.
There are two prevalent dress codes at law firms: business casual and business formal. The accepted standards and appropriate clothing are listed below for each:
The most widely used attire in all workplaces is business casual. It is more formal than most people’s everyday attire, but it still gives you some room to be yourself. You may also hear “smart casual” or “executive casual” used to describe business attire. “.
Common clothing items considered acceptable for business casual include:
Some law firms have business formal dress codes that everyone must follow. There are more stringent requirements to adhere to in the business formal dress code. The goal of business formal is to project a very polished and professional image throughout the organization.
Common items in a business formal dress code include:
Make sure the pants or skirt and jacket match when donning a suit. For instance, wearing a black jacket with black pants or a black skirt is considered appropriate, as is wearing a blue jacket with blue pants or a blue skirt.
Why is it important to know the paralegal dress code?
Professionalism is a priority for law firms in everything they do, including how their employees are dressed. In this way, your appearance represents the law firm itself.
By dressing appropriately, you can blend in with your colleagues. Respecting the dress code shows that you are a member of the same team. Even though the paralegal dress code allows for individuality, it’s best to develop it in accordance with the company’s rules.
Tips for dressing appropriately
Here are some pointers to help you present yourself professionally as a paralegal:
Ask HR for the dress code
Consult the HR department if you are uncertain about the dress code at your law firm. They can give you a copy of the dress code so you will know what to wear in advance. Keep a copy of this document at home and consult it any time you’re unsure whether something you’re wearing is appropriate for the office.
Start with the most professional clothes
When beginning your paralegal career, it is typically preferable to wear your most professional attire. Then, as you become more accustomed to the office setting, you will be able to decide which outfits are appropriate based on what your colleagues and supervisors wear.
Buy items that pair well together
When purchasing your paralegal attire, try to find items that coordinate with one another. The secret to doing this is choosing items in straightforward hues that work well together. You can save money by doing this because you won’t need to purchase completely different attire every day of the workweek.
Take good care of your clothes
While paralegal style is important, it’s also advisable to keep your clothing in excellent condition. It takes more than just buying the right clothes to appear professional; you also need to wear them with pride and responsibility. This includes ironing clothing, washing it frequently, purchasing clothing that fits properly, and, if necessary, having items tailored. By doing this, you can enhance your appearance and increase the longevity of your clothing.
FAQs about paralegal dress code
Frequently Asked Questions about Paralegal Dress Codes include the following:
Is the paralegal dress code the same every day?
Some workplaces have daily-varying dress codes. For instance, if you don’t have any client meetings that day, you might be able to get away with business casual attire rather than business formal. Additionally, some law firms establish a casual day, allowing everyone to don more relaxed attire on that day of the week or month.
Do I need to cover my tattoos?
Most law firms ask employees to cover their tattoos. Choose clothing that as much as possible conceals your tattoos as a result. For instance, if you have a tattoo on your wrist, you might want to wear long sleeve shirts or roll up your sleeves when wearing button-up shirts to work.
Can I wear jewelry as a paralegal?
Some jewelry is acceptable as a paralegal. High-quality watches, earrings and necklaces are typically fine. Generally speaking, it’s best to wear minimal jewelry and pick simple pieces. For instance, simple gold hoops earrings are probably acceptable, but numerous flashy bracelets are probably not appropriate for an office.
What should you wear as a paralegal?
- Short- or long-sleeved collared shirts.
- Dress slacks.
- Pressed khakis.
- Skirts no shorter than four inches above the knee.
- Sweaters and blouses in simple patterns or colors.
- Dresses in a neutral color.
- Jackets or sports coats.
- Neutral-colored ties.
What do paralegal men wear?
The nature of the work requires that every male paralegal have access to at least one sharp suit. In the office or when dealing with clients, you can get away with wearing a jacket and some chinos or separate dress pants, but if you have to appear in court, you’ll want to wear a nice, classic suit.
What should I wear to a paralegal interview?
If you’re unsure of the company’s dress code or want to look professional, think about wearing a classic suit or other work-friendly attire. While you might want to showcase your personality, the majority of law firms place great emphasis on professional appearance. Your chances of getting hired could be severely harmed if you choose the wrong outfit.
Do paralegals wear heels?
Find a pair of heels that are both stylish and comfortable for your feet. After all, you’ll be wearing these shoes for the majority of your working career.