What To Wear To the Interview: Law
October 01, 2013
Our investigation into the perfect interview outfit continues this week, when lawyer Julia Rogawski fills us in on what to wear (and what not to wear) in the legal world.
AN INTERVIEW AT A BIG CORPORATE FIRM
“Wear a black dress (fitted but not short), your best black blazer, and simple black heels (close-toed and low). Your makeup should be natural. I personally think you want to look attractive but not too attractive / sexy, because you don’t want to appear to be riding on your looks / sex appeal. As for jewelry, keep it simple.”
AN INTERVIEW AT A SMALL FIRM
“The same as above, but you can probably get away with a colored dress or blazer, or even a cardigan in place of a blazer.”
INFORMAL INTERVIEW / DRINKS
“I wouldn’t really adjust anything if it’s during the week. The interviewer will likely be coming from work in a suit and the venue will likely be nearby the interviewer’s office (and will probably be one of those restaurants or bars that is frequented by 90% people in suits). The only exception to this is if you are a law student going on an informational interview, in which case you don’t need to wear a suit. If you aren’t entering the interviewer’s office, wear a skirt and a blouse or a simple dress—try to look ‘business casual’.”
“…wear anything too stylish to an interview. Honestly, you want to give the impression that you’re willing to work hard, and looking super stylish signals that you have a life outside of work that you might prioritize over work. When deciding between verging on too casual or too formal, go with too formal. You want to give the impression that you are organized and put-together.”
AND BEYOND THE OUTFIT…
- Ask questions. Most lawyers are awkward and don’t have enough questions for you, so study up on the firm and recent cases/deals it has been involved with.
- Try to learn about their culture or what makes them different than other firms before the interview (and not just by reading their website or abovethelaw.com). You can be sure to face a question regarding what you are looking for or why, so be prepared.
- If you are just out of law school, have a good reason for why you went to law school or want to be a lawyer. Believe it or not, coming from a family of lawyers can be a good reason. Someone who has been around lawyers and understands what their lives are like is a good candidate because they know and accept what they’re getting into.
FROM THE INTERVIEWER’S PERSPECTIVE
“I interview summer associates and I sometimes ask them what they’ve heard about the potential work ahead of them. If they say that they’ve heard it’s hard but they also heard law school was hard and they overcame that challenge and/or didn’t find it to be too difficult, then that sounds annoying. Being a young lawyer is a lot of hard work. Don’t compare it to something else and presume it will be a breeze.”
Ready for the interview? Check out these looks first…
You can’t go wrong by playing it straight in the Niko:
In the Mela, you come off as polished and sharp, with an eye for details:
If you’re looking for a bit more flourish, opt for the streamlined, feminine Narie:
Feeling inspired? Browse the entire MM.LaFleur collection here.