I love the Internet.
It’s a fine illustration of the truism that you can’t please everybody.
Or maybe anybody.
The best parts of almost any Internet posting that allows comments are the comments. If you want to be entertained, skip over any postings and go right to the responses.
Case in point: a recent American Bar Association Journal web report on a lawyer who insists on a dress code for his law firm.
It’s actually just a brief summary of a column he wrote for OC Lawyer Magazine. I believe that’s the publication for Obsessive Compulsive attorneys, so a piece on fussy dressing made a lot of sense.
I have no love for fashion police – I dress for failure almost every day. But I could see this OC lawyer was just trying to be helpful by pointing out that some clients are impressed by clothing.
The unfortunate example of this in the guy’s column was of an elderly, grumpy Ed Asner in a “Curb Your Enthusiasm” bit complaining about a casually dressed lawyer. (I emphasize the word “elderly.”)
It didn’t seem like a big deal.
Then came the comments. There were already 22 of them when I checked the day the article was posted. Twenty-one were negative and the other one was a comment on someone else’s comment, which was negative too.
I recommend them all. My favorite: “Send this guy to Brooks Brothers to learn a little class. He looks like a bookie. Three-piece suit in SoCal? BTW, is this really from The Onion?”
Good question. There are times when I think the entire Internet is from The Onion.
The real issue here is, how do you say or do anything in public without being heaped with scorn?
The obvious answer is that you can’t. Become a public figure of any sort and be prepared for the Snarknado.
But you can mitigate.
Be negative. If you can’t say something mean, don’t say anything at all. It’s more difficult being negative about someone who’s already negative.
To use the example of our Obsessive Compulsive attorney, consider how much better he’d have been received if instead of politely criticizing bad outfits and insisting on good fashion, he’d ridiculed some opposing counsel’s mismatched socks and loafers.
“Dude thinks the jury won’t notice the fit on those puffy jodhpurs. He be lucky they don’t convict him for violating the Uniform Dress Code. WOL – Weep Out Loud! #Uglyincourt #Getoutofmyoffice.”
Or something like that.
The Internet would have cheered him on.
You need to know your audience.
So what should you wear? If you scour the Internet (and, boy, it sure needs scouring), you’ll see there’s an awful lot online about how lawyers should dress.
Most of the writers seem to think attorneys should dress up and/or look conservative, but you have to consider the self-selection bias. Those of us who don’t care how we look don’t care about how other people dress, so what’s the point in writing about it?
The best answer to this question that I came across came, not surprisingly, from answer.com: “What is the dress code for lawyers?
“Dark suit and tie. No hats. For women, should wear a dress. Many old-time judges will throw a woman out of court for wearing pants.
“This will vary from jurisdiction, with federal courts being the most strict.”
Short, to the point, and not very helpful. Everything on the Internet should be like that.
I love the Internet.