Female lawyers told to contain their giggles and cleavage

By Leanne Mezrani|29 October 2013

Clifford Chance has taken it upon itself to educate its female lawyers on how to speak, stand and dress appropriately.

Folklaw thought the Magic Circle firm had been overrun by June Dally-Watkins clones when it saw a 163-point memo sent to female associates in the US advising them not to giggle, squirm, wave their arms or show their cleavage.

“No one heard Hillary the day she showed cleavage,” it said in the document titled Presentation Tips for Women, which was obtained by the legal website Above The Law.

Flashing your panties will also render you mute, it seems; the author reminding women to close their legs if they’re wearing a skirt while seated on a dais.

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Other fashion-related tidbits include: “wear a suit, not your party outfit”, stick to “understated jewellery, nothing jingly or clanky” and “don’t take your purse up to the podium”.

Folklaw is amazed at how far female lawyers have come without knowing how to dress appropriately, waving their arms and purses about trying to be heard not realising they’re distracting everyone with their plunging necklines and noisy jewellery.

The author also decided that women may need help pronouncing words, advising them to “practice hard words; where you falter, alter”.

Folklaw is sure the firm’s female lawyers, who’ve presumably managed to complete law school and land a job at one of the largest firms in the world, are grateful for that pearl.

Another concern of the author is the pitch of women’s voices, with a couple of sections in the memo dedicated to this topic. “Your voice is higher than you hear,” the tip sheet warns. Thankfully, deepening your voice below a girly squeal is easy, just “think Lauren Bacall, not Marilyn Monroe”.

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But not everyone appreciates such valuable insights as “your friends will like you afterwards, even if you adopt a more formal tone”, with some female lawyers at the firm describing the memo as condescending.

“Female associates are very upset by not only the elementary nature of the tips themselves, but the suggestion that these would only apply to women. We have never been a very female-friendly firm, but this is beyond the pale,” an employee told Above the Law.

Just typical of those giggling, squirming, provocatively-dressed female lawyers to get hysterical...

Female lawyers told to contain their giggles and cleavage
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