Old school vs. business casual

Professionals weigh in on what to wear

published in The Journal Record | February 21, 2008

Tax and employee benefits attorney Jennifer Callahan was interviewed by Journal Record reporter Marie Price for an article on what’s considered acceptable attire for legal professionals in an increasingly business casual world.

The article contrasted the “old school” philosophy of some local firms with the business casual policies of other firms. Local attorneys were asked about their firm’s policies on attorney attire and whether young attorneys’ idea of business casual pushes the envelope of unprofessional casual attire.

Callahan, who chairs McAfee & Taft’s associate committee, said the casual dress trend at the firm “hasn’t gotten out of hand.”

“I think everybody has seen this trend toward business casual,” she said.

Callahan said McAfee and Taft has been fortunate that its associates use good judgment in how they dress, both in and out of court.

“We don’t really dictate what they wear,” she said.

Asked about stashing a suit behind the door, Callahan said, “I think most of us do that.”

Even lawyers who don’t need to make an unexpected trip to court may have to rush to an impromptu luncheon with a client, she said. “I think everybody is still pretty sensitive to that being a possibility,” Callahan said.