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Dressing like a lawyer

A recent article in Inside Higher Ed titled, Brains Not Clothesbrings up an important point that applies to pretty much all professional women or those that live under public scrutiny. We see a congressman jogging and the comments are about how he keeps his routine we see a congresswoman jogging and the comments are inevitably about her attire. Its an inescapable fact that I thought was articulated well in the following excerpt and one that I think any women practising in the legal profession can relate to. What do you think?

“Gender bias in student evaluations of faculty members is a well-documented phenomenon, and recent research suggests it even exists in online courses, where students only have access to a professor’s name, not her appearance. But looks factor in, too, of course. And this form of bias may be of particular importance in law due to the attention paid to professional attire by law publications, associations and schools. Take, for example, the 2013 essay in Legal Ink magazine telling women lawyers to “look like an attorney, not Lady Gaga,” or the now-infamous memo from a Loyola Marymount University Law School administrator to externship students, saying, “I really don’t need to mention that cleavage and stiletto heels are not appropriate office wear (outside of ridiculous lawyer TV shows), do I?” (A spokesman said the school no longer uses the memo.)

Lisa M. Passante, president of the National Association of Women Lawyers, said the organization was glad to see gender bias being raised at the law school level, and that it hoped Scales’s comments would “resonate with the students and cause them to think more deeply about the broader impact of their words on the careers of their professors, their classmates and women lawyers in general.” Much of the association’s work “addresses the biases women attorneys face for simply being female,” she added.” (Higher Ed, Brains Not Clothes).

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