Lots of attorneys and law firms are looking for the big case. They want that case that can help make their practice a financial success. It might be a high asset divorce. It might a personal injury case that stands to result in a big fee. It could be a successful business that might have lots of repeat needs. The possibilities are really endless.
When those clients come through the door, how do you look? Whether you like it or not, potential clients are quick to judge on appearance. What type of suit are you wearing? Are your shoes polished? Do you have handkerchief neatly tucked in your suit pocket? Are you wearing cuff links with a french cut shirt? Are you dry cleaning your clothes? Are you wearing clothes that fit? I assume you get the idea at this point.
At the end of the day, the details makes a difference. A potential client can see whether an attorney is paying attention to the details as it relates to their own appearance. They will then make assumptions (based on your appearance) about whether you would be paying attention to the details of their case if they were to hire you.
For this reason, you simply have to dress for success. You cannot afford to look average when that potential client walks through the door. A common line of resistance is the cost. Many attorneys (who are not doing well financially or who recently graduated from law school) will retort back that they do not have the funds.
The reality is that it is unwise for most attorneys, who are trying to make their practice work, to spend an exorbitant amount of money on clothing. But that does not mean that an attorney cannot still look like a million bucks in the initial room or in court, while being cost-conscious at the same time.
Here are some simple tips for how an attorney can look extraordinary:
1.) First-rate suits, ties and other clothing can be found on eBay or at second-hand stores. Versus buying cheap or average, new clothing as many attorneys want to do, quality suits and clothing can be bought for the same price as the second-rate stuff online at eBay or through second hand-stores. As hard as it might be for some to get over the idea of used clothing, attorneys can often buy a $500 or $1,000 suit online (made by one of the best brands) for $100 or $200. This is likely the same cost of that average suit you were going to buy new. The reality is most people who know clothing notice the difference between nice and average clothing quickly.
2.) Overstock.com actually has lots of quality clothing that can be bought for a fraction of the cost of items in stores. If you are looking for cuff links, handkerchiefs and other accessories, this is a good place to look.
3.) Find an affordable dry cleaner that can also make minor adjustments to the clothing you are purchasing. At the end of the day, you have to wear clothing that fits and that is not wrinkled. Get your clothing altered if need be so it fits your measurements. Lots of dry cleaners can make these small adjustments at the fraction of a cost of an expensive tailor.
4.) You need to do the little things to look fantastic in the initial room. For example, you should polish your shoes every day. This can be done efficiently with a polishing sponge that you can find in almost any local pharmacy for less than $10. While button-up shirts may be more convenient for you, buy shirts that allow for cuff links and use them. If you are a man, buy some handkerchiefs and wear them each and every day. If you are a lady, you can do all kinds of little things to accessorize.
5.) You need a watch whether you use it to tell the time or not. The watch does not have to be the most expensive one on the market. However, you do need to get something respectable and put it on your wrist each day. As with suits and ties, a quality watch can be obtained on eBay at a fraction of the cost of what you would pay for something new in the store.
At the end of the day, your appearance does matter. You cannot afford to look second-rate when that quality client walks through the day. Whether you like it or not, potential clients do notice and will make decisions on who to hire based on appearance.
If you have any thoughts, feel free to share them below.