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From White-Shoe to Blue-Jean, Firms Get Casual to Draw in Talent

Lizzy McLellan LAW.COM

Who says Fridays get all the fun? Whether its entrepreneurial clients or millennial lawyers driving the change, law firms are increasingly putting the casual in business casual.

Dechert is the latest firm to expand its definition of acceptable workplace attire. Management at the firm announced Tuesday that a dress code means lawyers and staff can now wear jeans any day of the week, if they so choose.

Loosening dress codes is an appeal to the millennial generation, said Darin Morgan, managing partner of Major, Lindsey & Africa’s Philadelphia office, who related the move to an increase in flexible work schedules, remote work arrangements and other perks.

Law firms were under-hiring for years, but now that they’re busier and need more lawyers, there is a shortage of midlevel associates with strong skillsets, Morgan said. So they’re making fierce efforts at recruitment and retention.

“They’re listening to their associates much better than before,” he said. “What they care about the most is that the work gets done … to keep the firm as profitable as possible.”

Morgan said he’s inclined to agree with that philosophy. The only potential downside, he said, is if someone “takes it too far and happens to be seen by a very conservative client who happens to be at the firm that day.”

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