Maureen A. Howard, There Is No Summer in the Courtroom, Aug. 2012 De Novo 16 (2012), https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/faculty-articles/520
Pacific Northwesterners frequently lament summer’s delayed arrival to our verdant corner of the country, and this year is no exception. June was unseasonably cool and wet, and the first official weekend of summer brought grey skies, chilly breezes, and sheets of rain. It is no surprise, then, that each year, as August approaches and summer seems to have truly arrived, locals eagerly search their closets for rarely-used warm-weather attire. Lawyers are not immune from the lure to celebrate summer’s overdue arrival by breaking out tank tops, flip-flops, sunglasses, and shorts. Nonetheless, a trial lawyer needs to remember that although summer does eventually arrive to our region, however late that may be, it never arrives inside a courtroom.
Over the last two decades, particularly on the west coast, where there is a more relaxed expectation of formality in professional dress, clothing that was once reserved for “casual Fridays” is now de rigueur throughout the work week in many law firms and agencies. It can be easy, then, for a lawyer’s working wardrobe to become unconsciously “summerized” when the temperature rises. And while a particular office culture may tolerate or even embrace the idea of colleagues sporting sleeveless dresses, polo shirts, khaki shorts, or short-sleeved Hawaiian-print shirts, a lawyer needs to be mindful that it is never summertime in the courtroom.