Life at a firm…


As the summer gets closer, I thought I would help the 1Ls and 2Ls heading to firms figure out how to approach law firm life. First, here’s an internal memo I stumbled across that may help you figure out what kinds of clothes to buy in preparation for your summer.

TO: All members of the firmRE: Dress code

Recently we have noticed some disappointing fashion choices among attorneys and staff, compelling the need for this memo regarding appropriate, inappropriate, and just plain disgusting business attire.


For men: collared shirts, cuffed slacks (with or without pleat), uncuffed slacks (pleated only), khakis (except for the shade of khaki that falls directly in between beige and tan but would not be properly termed ‘light brown’), business suits (above $800 retail price only), anything with pinstripes (including tank tops), brown or black shoes (no sandals), no dungarees (or any other anachronistic name you may use for ‘jeans,’ not limited to ‘blue miners’ pants,’ ‘denim leg coverings,’ or ‘stonewashed sport casual pants’), nylon or cotton socks (no polyester), boxer briefs only (or no undergarment at all), earmuffs, corncob pipe, fedora, eye patch, BreatheRight nasal strips, wristbands, ring pops, black fingernail polish, antennae.

For women: skirts and/or slacks, in any color darker than the color of your soul, blouses with an odd number of buttons only (blouses with zippers are an exception), scarves, shawls, boas, anything with sequins or feathers, diamonds (real), pearls (fake), sweatsuits (pink only), shoes with heels lower than 1″ or higher than 4″, stockings (clear or fishnet), army fatigues (bottoms only), any item colored ‘lemon yellow,’ peacoats, pantyhose, anything made from an animal carcass and/or hide, socks (two or fewer), gloves (one or fewer), shoulder pads (three or greater), spacesuits, gas masks, fire-retardant overcoats, hospital scrubs, leg warmers, bicycle shorts, disposable diapers, cast-iron headware, sundresses, pajamas with feet.


Shorts, tank tops, anything orange, anything that glows in the dark, anything that exposes any part of your genitalia, anything manufactured in Canada, clothing with small parts that could be swallowed by children, anything with a removable metal spike, anything made entirely of wheatgrass, pompoms, moccasins, anything featuring a brand logo larger than three square inches, anything containing a subliminal message, roller blades, nose rings, nipple rings, kidney rings, liver rings, anything designed to protect your pancreas from unusual trauma, fur coats (live only), anything made mostly (>50%) from seaweed, undergarments worn on the outside, outergarments worn on the underside, anything made of sand, all flavored clothing, anything that creates a fire hazard or is in fact actually on fire, anything made of the shredded remains of old client records, anything that appears to be purposefully torn, anything made of cheese, anything attractive, anything that matches your neighbor, anything bold, anything stylish, anything cheap.

Thank you for your careful attention to these matters.

Second, you’ll quickly discover that at most places, whenever someone leaves the firm, they send a Departure memo to everyone in the office, thanking people who they’ve worked with, providing contact information, etc. But why save them just for when you’re leaving for good?

TO: All PersonnelRE: Goodbye (for the day)

I am leaving the office at 5:30 today, with great sadness, for an opportunity to spend some extended time with my family until returning tomorrow morning.Before I leave, I would like to thank a number of people for helping to make my time in the office today pleasant and rewarding: thanks to Bob for the guidance and support, John for taking me out to lunch, Sheila for holding the elevator for me, and Herb for cleaning the office. Thanks to Joe for making sure the photocopier did not run out of paper; thanks to Lauren for all of the good times; thanks to James for helping me through the rough spot around 2:00 when I couldn’t find my keys. It would be impossible for me to recall everyone I’ve worked with today, but I hope you all know how much I’ve appreciated the opportunity and chance to continue my legal career with such wonderful people.I will miss you all, during my commute home, as well as when I get there, and I will keep you all in mind until I return.

Please stay in touch. You can reach me by e-mail, although probably not until after 7:00; of course my cell phone will be with me at all times. I hope to remain in contact with all of you; you are my lighthouse in the storm.

I regret not having the chance to contribute more to the team during my time here today; if only I had taken ten more minutes to read the document this morning; if only I hadn’t missed the light coming back from lunch – the regrets are virtually endless. But I will treasure the time I spent – in my office, in the lobby, in the bathroom, and the many other paths I’ve crossed from this morning until now.

At the risk of leaving out something I will regret, I want to bring this note to an end with a wish that every job could be as fulfilling as mine has been, today, and share with you the feeling that my heart beats more strongly and my soul shines brighter because of these 8 hours we’ve spent together.

Do not hesitate to let me know if there is ever anything I can do for you, at least until the morning. Also note that I will be unavailable this evening between 7 and 7:20 due to an appointment for a haircut. Callers during that time will be able to leave a voice mail, and I will return those messages as soon as I am able. This brief vacation from electronic communication will allow my spirits to rejuvenate before taking on the next set of challenges that my life has to offer.

Cheers, and Best Wishes, You

Jeremy Blachman apologizes for repurposing his weblog material. Read more at

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