Night before a seminar, I consider some ties. Hmmm. Professional enough?

What should lawyers wear? And are attorneys succumbing to a more-casual time, to the detriment of the profession?

No surprise, I guess, that I can’t answer those questions. But a State Bar seminar today urges lawyers to consider them.

And my role in the morning’s events – Panelist? Moderator? Scribe?

How about … model. (No joke.)

In what will be a first for me, I’ve been asked by seminar organizers to attend for one reason: to demonstrate lawyerly dress. Paired with me will be a lawyer whose sartorial choices would be considered inappropriate for such an august profession. (Much to my chagrin, our selection was based not on my own stellar dressing abilities; I suspect it was more random than that.)

I’m hoping I can carry off my modeling tasks well. I bet I’ll be able to walk in, turn, and walk out. Wish me luck.

More curious is the question of how attendees will receive the lesson in professional dress. My own experience with the topics reminds me that it can be a powderkeg. I mean, not everyone enjoys being told how to dress.

Back in 2008, our cover story in Arizona Attorney Magazine was titled “Working Class: Being a Pleasure in Practice.” Written by Court of Appeals Judge Ann Scott Timmer, it examined a variety of situations in which the new-ish lawyer might find himself. She explored occurrences like office politics, accepting or declining work from a partner, and work ethic. But she also examined how lawyers dress.

I’ve included a few images from our content on clothing. Looking back today, they seem pretty mild-mannered.

That’s more than I can say for some of our readers. I heard early and often from Arizona lawyers who were offended that we dared to critique their clothing choices. More than three years later, I still hear every few months from an attorney who mentions being irked by that advice.

Here’s hoping today’s attendees at the Bar Leadership Institute take the lesson more cheerfully. Have a great weekend.