To Show Respect For Whomever They Are Meeting.
First, the only place you are sure to see a lawyer wearing a suit these days is in a courtroom. Most judges still demand that lawyers – although not other people – wear coats and ties.
Otherwise, a lot of lawyers don’t wear suits.
My Dad was a lawyer when I was growing up, and ultimately became more of a businessman. He wore suits everywhere – office, church, cocktail parties, everywhere.
He grew up poor, and between being known as someone who wore suits and someone who didn’t wear suits, you wanted the suit.
And that’s the way he raised me. Except I hated the suits. Especially ties. When Dad saw a suit, he saw equality, and respect for the people around him. When I saw it, I saw a really tight neck, and being uncomfortable.
So I grew up not wearing suits whenever I thought I could get away with doing that. When I became a lawyer, that changed – because my Dad, and everyone I knew who was a lawyer, wore suits. At least into the 1980’s.
And then they stopped. You would hear stories about some attorney in a fancy suit – Hugo Boss, or Yves Saint Laurent (I don’t have either of those) – making a drippy remark to a kid wearing a t-shirt in a boardroom, only to find out that the t-shirt was his corporate client’s chief attorney.
But I kept wearing suits. It was what people expected of lawyers. In 1995, one of the lawyers I shared an office with decided that the office would have a “casual day”. I showed up in a suit. He got mad at me. I said “But I have to appear in court”. It fell on deaf ears.
My rule now is that if I am going to meet with a client or anyone else about a case, or appear in court, or show up somewhere in a professional capacity, I wear a suit that day. If not, I can “go casual” – which means at least nice slacks and a shirt with buttons on it, and probably a sport jacket. The rule isn’t ironclad, but pretty much.
Why? Two stories.
Years ago, I practiced with another, older – but pretty hip – lawyer. He told me “If your client sees you in the office without a tie, even on a Saturday, they think you’re not working.”
And that ‘s not what I want my clients to think. Because I am working. Hard.
A few years later, I was thinking about showing up without a tie for a meeting with a client, “Ran”. Ran was from India.
And I thought about it. This is a pretty hard place to get to from India. And Ran was a successful insurance salesman. And dapper. He would always wear an immaculate suit and carefully selected tie.
And I said to myself – there’s no way Ran is going to wear an open collar shirt to this meeting, or any meeting. Why? Because it’s important to him that people know that he respects them.
So I wore the suit.
I have been a lawyer over 30 years. If we meet, and I’m not wearing a tie, ask me why. If you have a personal injury case in Cincinnati, Ohio or if you want to know what your lawsuit is worth, talk with an experienced Cincinnati Injury Attorney about the case. Call me, William Strubbe, at 513-621-4775.
Because all situations are different, and because there may be other facts pertaining to your case that I don’t know about, you should not rely on this answer for legal advice. I am not your attorney, and no lawyer client relationship has been formed. All discussions are limited to Ohio law unless otherwise indicated. And past performance cannot be used to predict future results.