Miami: Working from home may mean a uniform of tracksuit pants and T-shirts for many of us, but lawyers in Florida have been given a dressing-down over their appearances on video chat service Zoom.
With some courts opting for online hearings, Broward Circuit Judge Dennis Bailey issued a warning to those thinking they can wear just anything.
"It is remarkable how many attorneys appear inappropriately on camera," the judge wrote in the letter posted on the Weston Bar Association website. "We've seen many lawyers in casual shirts and blouses, with no concern for ill-grooming, in bedrooms with the master bed in the background, etc. One male lawyer appeared shirtless and one female attorney appeared still in bed, still under the covers.
"And putting on a beach cover-up won't cover up [that] you're poolside in a bathing suit. So, please, if you don't mind, let's treat court hearings as court hearings, whether Zooming or not."
The judge's advice comes as the country adjusts to Zoom meeting etiquette amid the global coronavirus pandemic. While some may doubt the link between work fashion and productivity, environmental psychology expert Francis T. McAndrew explained the connection simply.
"If you look at how you are dressed, that signals something about what you are prepared to do," the Knox College professor told Vogue Magazine. "So, if you're dressed like a slob and you are in your sweat clothes, you're either prepared to work out at the gym or clean out the basement, but you're not doing anything professional or mentally challenging, and that spills over into your motivation and confidence."
Bailey, who has to wear his robes for hearings, says he crafted the letter to give attorneys an update on the court's doings.
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