girlmonster wrote:I have a less serious question to ask simply out of curiosity, because I think it would be interesting to see how it differs depending on the type of PI employer (e.g., gov't v. HRW v. legal aid clinic in Oakland, etc.) and the position:
How acceptable are visible tattoos and piercings?
I know a number of people with tattoos and piercings in plaintiff-side work (some at very prestigious firms) and legal aid. I don't really think it matters at all for these types of jobs. The attorneys in these fields are very liberal. Government might be a bit more conservative on this. It also depends on the state/office, too. If you want to do plaintiff-side work in California, you could probably do so with well-maintained dreadlocks and gauges in your ears, as long as you wear a nice suit to court/at meetings/in front of clients. In Nebraska, maybe not so much.
I once went to a worker-side law conference and there was an attorney from like Boca Raton there wearing a "Heat" tank-top jersey with no undershirt. I mean, that's a little bit extreme, and I wouldn't recommend that until you have your own established practice, but the whole personal appearance thing is fairly overblown...and relates primarily to Biglaw. I once interviewed for a plaintiff-side firm and the guy who interviewed me was wearing shorts and a golf shirt. He told me specifically not to wear a suit to the interview, so I wore a button-up collared shirt with dress pants and leather-soled shoes. I was embarrassed because I was way over-dressed. I've also seen plaintiff-side attorneys at ABA conferences with full back tattoos wearing open-backed dresses...with very successful careers.
It's not the norm, but it doesn't seem to be an impediment to success, either. I would still try and look as professional as possible when looking for a job, but piercings/tattoos by themselves aren't going to stop you from getting anything in legal aid/PI/plaintiff-type work. I'd try and cover them up for government jobs though. Just for the interview, at least. Once you're in the system, no one is really going to care. There's oddballs all throughout the legal profession.
And people are especially not going to care if you are doing good work.