Over the summer, I was on-set for a fashion photo shoot for this special student issue of Precedent. When you read “Dressed to bill”, you’ll see two impeccably outfitted law students ready for their interviews, a day at the office and an evening event.
What you won’t see is everything that went on behind the scenes. To create our fashion pages, we brought together an impressive team: photographer, makeup artist, stylist, editor, art director and assistants. We also found a gorgeous location for our photo shoot thanks to the good people at Goodmans LLP. (For behind-the-scenes shots, check out the full story.)
What you also won’t see from the fashion pages is all the debate and serious discus- sion that went into our wardrobe decisions. As the arbiters of law and style, it’s Precedent’s job to push the envelope a little. But just a little. We want to give our readers advice they can trust and rely on, but we also want to encourage them to show a little personal style. It’s a tricky balance.
How you dress and present yourself is key as you embark on your law career. You’re entering a pretty exclusive club and a jacket and tie may very well be required. There are dress codes, both explicit and implied, and the sooner you understand them, the sooner you’ll be on the road to success.
On Bay Street in particular, the rules about fashion can be strict. Not simply because these are traditional and conservative environments, but because this is a client-based industry and firms want to put their best, and most polished, foot forward. But buying that first grey or navy (and well-fitting) suit is only one of the challenges of landing your dream job. As you head off in search of your future career, you’ll need to ace the interview, learn your law firm history and decide which city you’d like to call home.
And if navy and grey aren’t your colours and suits aren’t really your thing, think about your other options. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the frenzy of OCIs and the glamour of the big-firm job. But it might not be for you. There are clerkships, boutique firms, government jobs, legal clinics, in-house counsel roles and international work. The opportunities out there are as varied as the dress codes that accompany them.
I wish you all the best as you embark on your legal career. My advice: no matter what you choose, be sure that you’ve found a good fit.