"Business casual" dress code for SF Biglaw Forum

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"Business casual" dress code for SF Biglaw

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 25, 2022 2:48 pm

I will be working as an SA in SF this summer (WSGR corporate) and was told that the dress code is business casual with true casual on Fridays. I've only ever worked on the east coast, so to me business casual means slacks, dress shoes, and a nice button down. I'm asking because all my work clothes don't fit anymore (COVID weight... yikes) and I need to buy new clothes to work in. I know SF tech is WAY more causal than the east coast so what does business casual actually mean for San Francisco corporate lawyers? Polo and slacks? Polo and jeans? button down and jeans? nice sweater and jeans? etc...

My end goal is to join the EC/VC practice if that makes any difference.

Thanks for the help!

PS I dress as a guy if that wasn't obvious from the questions

stickershocked

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Re: "Business casual" dress code for SF Biglaw

Post by stickershocked » Tue Jan 25, 2022 2:57 pm

If you're worried about it, just overdress on day one and then see what other people are wearing. Feels like biglaw everywhere is about to get more casual post-pandemic (once athleisure always athleisure). Given the uncertainty of facetime, probably still not the best time to invest in a full wardrobe refresh.

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Re: "Business casual" dress code for SF Biglaw

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 25, 2022 2:58 pm

I used to work WSGR corporate (pre-pandemic) before lateraling to a different firm. WSGR was much more on the business side of "business casual"--men regularly wore slacks and dress shoes and women wore dresses/skirts and heels. My second firm is much more casual; no one would bat an eye if you strolled in with jeans and a T-shirt.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Tue Jan 25, 2022 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: "Business casual" dress code for SF Biglaw

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 25, 2022 3:00 pm

stickershocked wrote:
Tue Jan 25, 2022 2:57 pm
If you're worried about it, just overdress on day one and then see what other people are wearing. Feels like biglaw everywhere is about to get more casual post-pandemic (once athleisure always athleisure). Given the uncertainty of facetime, probably still not the best time to invest in a full wardrobe refresh.
That's what Ive done for jobs in the past, but I'm pretty broke and would also prefer not to immediately go shopping after my first day at work. I'm asking so I can buy stuff I need now, hopefully on sale somewhere.

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Re: "Business casual" dress code for SF Biglaw

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 25, 2022 3:01 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jan 25, 2022 2:58 pm
I used to work WSGR corporate (pre-pandemic) before lateraling to a different firm. WSGR was much more on the business side of "business casual"--men regularly wore slacks and dress shoes and women wore dresses/skirts and heels. My second firm was much more casual; no one would bat an eye if you strolled in with jeans and a T-shirt.
Thanks for the heads up! Do you think there was a difference between neighborhoods (or practice groups or whatever term they used to describe the internal groupings when you were there)?

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Anonymous User
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Re: "Business casual" dress code for SF Biglaw

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 25, 2022 3:23 pm

I wouldn’t show up in less than a button down, slacks, and at least business-ish shoes on day one. Less than that runs the risk of standing out as underdressed at some firms.

They don’t have to be nice; you can pick them up at Target if you’re price conscious.

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Re: "Business casual" dress code for SF Biglaw

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 25, 2022 3:43 pm

Posting anon because I currently work at WSGR in the Bay Area. I wouldn't worry about this/go out to buy clothes for the summer - the offices still aren't open, and the earliest timeline they've given us for reopening is March with hybrid. I highly doubt the offices will be open for summer associates this year given the Covid situation.

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Re: "Business casual" dress code for SF Biglaw

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 25, 2022 3:50 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jan 25, 2022 3:01 pm
Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jan 25, 2022 2:58 pm
I used to work WSGR corporate (pre-pandemic) before lateraling to a different firm. WSGR was much more on the business side of "business casual"--men regularly wore slacks and dress shoes and women wore dresses/skirts and heels. My second firm was much more casual; no one would bat an eye if you strolled in with jeans and a T-shirt.
Thanks for the heads up! Do you think there was a difference between neighborhoods (or practice groups or whatever term they used to describe the internal groupings when you were there)?
Different anon but current WSGR corporate. Whenever we return to the office or whatever hybrid form that takes, I expect you'll be fine wearing whatever you want -- business casual probably "safest" (if you're worried about feeling underdressed), but many of us were wearing jeans/polo (or equivalent casual) to the office long before the COVID shut-down. Maybe that's Palo Alto vs. SF offices? I think firm policy is just to be prepared for any client interactions you may have that day. I've literally never worn a suit or tie here.

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Re: "Business casual" dress code for SF Biglaw

Post by The Lsat Airbender » Tue Jan 25, 2022 4:46 pm

Even at the absolute most casual firm, and even if I expected to be fully remote for the summer, would still want to have one decent suit in my closet "just in case". Would be a huge pain/expense to try and get one on short notice.

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Anonymous User
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Re: "Business casual" dress code for SF Biglaw

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 25, 2022 4:52 pm

As a summer, what you describes probably works. Most of the true EC/VC practices have dropped the “business” from business casual. My office is jeans and sneakers 5X a week. Some go north face hedge fund bro vest on top, but lots in hoodies, etc. But even at my firm, if you go out to lunch with a litigation partner they might very well be offended if you show up in your Jordans as a summer.

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Re: "Business casual" dress code for SF Biglaw

Post by Anonymous User » Tue Jan 25, 2022 5:17 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jan 25, 2022 3:43 pm
Posting anon because I currently work at WSGR in the Bay Area. I wouldn't worry about this/go out to buy clothes for the summer - the offices still aren't open, and the earliest timeline they've given us for reopening is March with hybrid. I highly doubt the offices will be open for summer associates this year given the Covid situation.
What I was told by recruiting is that to expect to be in person unless the government forces them to shut the office down.

Anonymous User
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Re: "Business casual" dress code for SF Biglaw

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jan 30, 2022 2:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Tue Jan 25, 2022 3:43 pm
Posting anon because I currently work at WSGR in the Bay Area. I wouldn't worry about this/go out to buy clothes for the summer - the offices still aren't open, and the earliest timeline they've given us for reopening is March with hybrid. I highly doubt the offices will be open for summer associates this year given the Covid situation.
I would take the other side of that bet

Anonymous User
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Re: "Business casual" dress code for SF Biglaw

Post by Anonymous User » Sun Jan 30, 2022 2:43 pm

EC/VC associate in the Bay at a peer firm and I wear a polo, jeans and a sweater to the office whenever I deign to go in and absolutely no one cares. Agree with the above that the safest path is for at least the first week to come in with a dress shirt, slacks and reasonably respectable shoes (common TLS wisdom is Allen Edmonds oxfords but that's for NYC biglaw, you probably would be fine in black/brown loafers). And yes, do have at the very least a sports coat you could bring on short notice -- don't think a full suit is super necessary but having one on standby if you can wing it is helpful.

Altogether though, by week two, I wouldn't be surprised if you were going in with a dress shirt, jeans and loafers and even changing to more relaxed clothing for outings and such if COVID permits.

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