Can You Interview in 4″ Heels?

Can You Interview in 4" Heels? | CorporetteAre 4″ heels too high for job interviews?  Is a red sole inappropriate for interviewing and networking?  Reader A wonders…

Hi I was wondering if I could get some advice on shoes. I will be starting law school in the fall and I’m wondering what heels would be appropriate. I currently own a black leather pair of Louboutins that are 4 inches. Do you feel it’s appropriate to wear them with the red bottom showing? Also is 4 inches considered too high? Thank you!

We’ve talked about Louboutins at work here, as well as which heels are too high, but we haven’t talked about either issue in a while. (Pictured: Christian Louboutin Simple 100 Leather Pumps, available in store only at Saks.)  Here are some general tips:

  • If you can’t walk at least 6 blocks in your shoes, you need lower heels.  I’ve heard the term “limo shoes” used in regard to very high heels — as in, the limo picks you up at your front door and then takes you to the event, where you can spend the evening half-supported by your date.  This is not, obviously, the situation one normally encounters at job interviews.  You may be hustled from office to office, taken to lunch at a “nearby” restaurant (hence my 6 block rule), or even have to stand for 45 minutes if it’s a networking event.  On me, 4″ would be way too high.
  • In general, the bigger the platform, the less appropriate the shoe is for the office.  I’d reconsider any platform heels higher than .5″-1″.
  • Know your environment. I see no problem with red soles, provided you’re going into a conservative, generally “white shoe” environment — I think most people there will recognize them as status symbols and appreciate that you’re willing to make the investment in your appearance.  That said, if you’re going to a nonprofit interview, an in-house interview with a wide range of salaries among company employees (of which the lawyer may be near the top), or a jury trial, be aware that you may be seen as materialistic/princess — and reconsider wearing them until your work, ideas, and personality have had a chance to make an impression on people.

Readers, what do you say? How high is too high? And, are Loubies appropriate in general for work?


  1. Ladies, I’m going anon for this but I just want to scream it from the rooftops – I’ve paid off all of my student loans as of this morning! About $90k in 4 years. I’m trying to hold myself from imaginary spending next month’s “loan payment!”

    • Baby DC Attorney :

      Advice on how you did it???? Were you doing the 10 year student loan pay-off or the 20 year pay-off?

    • Baby DC Attorney :

      Oh, and congratulations!

    • Woods-comma-Elle :

      Wooo hooo!!! This is awesome, well done!

    • That is amazing. Congratulations! And you should definitely daydream good ways to spend it. I would get the next month’s value in ones, then roll around on my bed in it.

    • Yippee and congratulations!

    • CONGRATS!!!!

    • Sydney Bristow :


    • Congrats! I hope you treat yourself to some splurges in the next few months!

    • WOOO!!! Congrats!! Celebrate yourself with some splurges before you start putting that loan payment money somewhere else ;)

    • INTERNET HIGH FIVES! I made my last student loan payment this past December ($100k in 2.5 years on small law salary) and it felt Ah-Mazing to vanquish that beast. Definitely treat-yo-self to something you have been holding off on purchasing.

      • Criminal Appeals :

        Wow, M, that’s amazing. TELL ME HOW TO DO IT. I’m a solo practitioner on track to make about $72K gross this year. I pay $936/month in loans right now as it is. Seriously, how?

        • Being part of a dual-income household certainly helped make it possible (H brings in the same amount of money as I do)–all other things being equal, it probably would have taken me closer to 4 or 5 years if I was by myself.

          I think the two biggest contributing factors were: 1) maintaining the same lifestyle as when I was a student (i.e. no cable, kept driving our paid-off cars, no major purchases); and 2) taking out a home equity loan at a vastly lower rate–in fact, even if the rate wasn’t that much lower, it still would have made a big difference, as the monthly payments are not amortized while the line is “open,” so the majority of the large payments we were making every month were going towards principal. Again, this would not have been an option if I was by myself, as I certainly would not have owned a home, with equity no less, fresh out of school. However, IMHO, keeping cost of living low is the more important thing, as that dictates how much cash you have available to throw at paying the principal down (which, in turn, reduces the interest you end up paying). It is tough to resist the urge to spend more of your paycheck, but so worth it in the end.

          • Criminal Appeals :

            Thanks. I’m 33 and hopefully won’t be single forever, but right now it is definitely harder to throw more at the loans when I have to pay rent and all bills by myself. You’re right that COL is the major factor though.

  2. I wouldn't :

    I think that 4″ heels and red soles can be memorable. When I’m interviewing, I’d rather have my outfit be unremarkable.

    • I wouldn’t either. Four inches is too high. Plus, there can be quite a bit of walking during interviews so I’d wear something a little more comfortable with a thicker heel.

    • I am the exacteley the oposite.

      If it were NOT for 4 inch heel’s and styleish dresse’s, I would be delivering and serveing subpeenees today, not being a partner at a law firm. YAY for heel’s and styleish clotheing!

      Yay for the manageing partner for pickeing me out to do this and buy me clotheing so that the judge can stare at my leg’s! Super yay!!!!

    • I agree.

      Honestly, I would also question the judgment and value system of this person. While some people would view a red soled Lou as an investment in their appearance, it would bring up other less positive things in my profession.

      • Their value system? What exactly do you mean by that?

        • They like expensive shoes and therefore cannot possibly be serious about their work, or are in it only for the money.

          • Oh yes, I was being very sarcastic. In my field, especially if one is female, paying too much attention to clothes or appearance makes some people think you are not serious about your work. This was a huge issue when I was still in the lab (think biotech, or biology-based academic labs), less so as an administrator.

            Also, I don’t like people judging how I spend my money, and I try not to judge how people spend theirs. I like clothes and shoes, but prefer the cheap scratchy towels from Target (seriously, I do not love fluffy towels) and still have old, mismatched dishes. But I get that some people would rather have just a few pairs of really good shoes (maybe even Louboutins!) or nice towels and dishes.

            I more or less enjoy this site, but sometimes I feel that it gets a little judgey and really focused on minutiae. I mean, I admit, I didn’t love it when a person I interviewed came to the interview in a pilled sweater and pants with dirty hems, but if she had been otherwise brilliant for the job, I would have given her a positive review (we are not in any way client-facing, so that’s not an issue).

            I think the bigger issue is whether the person can walk in the 4-inch heels without tottering, and can keep up if the interview involves a lot of walking or stairs. That is good advice.

        • Liking expensive shoes and being serious about your work are not mutually exclusive, in my book.

          • preg anon :

            I’m assuming Poly D was being sarcastic, just FYI. But yes, I agree that Loubs would have absolutely nothing to do with your value system. That’s kind of ridiculous.

          • Word.

          • preg anon :

            And @Rachel, if that’s the case, then every. single. thing. you spend money on have something to say about your value system. You buy a pack of gum when you could have given that $2 to a homeless person = you don’t care about the homeless.

          • I mean, I don’t think expensive shoes and hard work are mutually exclusive, but I don’t think they say nothing at all about your value system. At the very least, they say you value expensive shoes. Some people may think that’s fine, some people may think that you value expensive shoes at the expensive of some other worthwhile thing.

            I don’t think you can avoid making a value statement of some kind with Louboutins.

          • @preganon: Of course Louboutins have something to say about your value system. They say you would rather spend $x on a visible affect for yourself than on anything else.

          • Sigh. Rachel – you’re assuming that someone purchased those shoes for herself. What if they were a gift?

          • Argh, meant to reply here, see above. Judge me because I cannot work a website interface properly. My shoes are midrange.

          • @preganon: You’re exaggerating but that’s not entirely wrong. There are lots of people who judge when people get coffee at Starbucks (the “latte factor”) or buy a fancy car (had to get the BMW, Honda isn’t good enough?) or a house that’s “too big,” or sure, if they’re a particularly judgmental person, gum when they could have been donating to charity instead.

            But this isn’t about whether they SHOULD, it’s about whether they ARE. Lots of people judge based on what you’re wearing. That’s kind of the whole point of website like this. The point of an interview is to minimize bad potential judgments and maximize good ones. If there’s a reasonable chance someone is going to make a bad call about you, and you can fix it by just picking up another pair of shoes from your closet, why wouldn’t you?

            Everything you do says something about you as a person. But this question is just about shoes.

      • This is ridiculous. I’m sorry – I’m a second year associate and I have designer shoes/bags/clothes because I love clothes and I can afford nicer clothes. I don’t think that means I have a values issue. I think that means I prioritize clothes over eating out in my budget.

      • Anonattorney :

        The best interview is one where the interviewer can identify with the interviewee. If you wear clothes or accessories that stand out too much, you may alienate some of your interviewers. That’s my only concern with Louboutins — they stand out. AND . . . they are kind of sexual. Just throwing that out there.

        I agree with the people who say 4″ heels are fine as long as you can walk in them.

        • preg anon :

          Why are they s*xual??? Because red = s*xual? That is crazy pants.

          (By the way, I don’t have a pair or plan on buying a pair, but I will fight for the rights of those who do!)

      • anon-oh-no :

        this literally made me laugh out loud.

        and the idea that there is some sort of rule about the height of one’s shoes is just silly to me. if youre not sure about something, dont wear it, but otherwise, if you look good/put together, can walk in the shoes, and feel confident, nobody will give it a second look — except maybe to say youre confident and look put together.

        i wear 4 inch heels just about every day and always have — when i was in law school, when i worked in public interest, when i clerked, when i was an associate at a big firm, and now that i am a partner at a big firm. i wore them to interviews as well becuase that is all i own.

        i also get the idea of not wanting shoes to be too s3xual and I agree, but, for example, the shoes pictured in this post are totally normal and appropriate shoes for work, including an interview, court etc.

        • Anonattorney :

          Eh, the red soles are intended to evoke female s3xual organs (and the arch in loubs was supposed to mimic women’s feet during climax). Loubs generally scream s3x and power. That’s a strong message to send as a law student.

          • Is this a joke?

          • The arch is the same as every other pair of heels, right? I certainly can’t tell a difference. And I doubt anyone could tell a difference if the heels weren’t red. And as far as the color, should I never wear red then? No red pants. No red suit. And what about a man’s power tie that is red? Is that also sexual? I mean, seriously.

          • Anonattorney :

            Sigh. I don’t have anything against Louboutins. I think they’re beautiful, I love them, and I would wear them if I could walk in 4″ heels and wasn’t already 6′ tall. I think they look powerful and wonderful on professional women.

            But yes, a flash of red on the bottom of a shoe, or the lining of a dress, or as lipstick, was likely chosen because it evokes a sexual response in men. It’s the peek-a-boo effect. Louboutin has said this before, and he has explained that the arch of the shoe (not the ones pictured, but the typical iconic Louboutin arch) was modeled off what I said above.

            I think wear Louboutins, but maybe not to an interview.

          • So every woman’s foot curves in the same way, and it’s exactly the way the Loub is? And people would know that by looking at the shoe? And yeah, maybe Loub has said it, but it’s in his interest to say things like that to get attention, and likely the law firm partner will not have been reading up on it and then think of it when he/she sees the shoes. This is just such a stretch. Plus, I wear red lipstick all the time.

            By the way, saying “sigh” at the beginning of your response as if you’re dealing with a child is slightly obnoxious.

          • Anonattorney :

            @anon 4:01pm: I can’t tell if you were the person who posted at 3:18 or 3:20 because, of course, you are anonymous.

            I used “sigh” at the beginning of my post because I unintentionally offended someone on thissite, which apparently happens frequently. I’m not sure how pointing out that Louboutins are sexy is offensive. They are. It’s one of the reason why people love them. They are beautiful, amazing, sexy, and suprisingly comfortable shoes.

          • anon-oh-no :

            nothing offensive, but that is just wrong. the red on the bottom of the shoe was a whim that he added with red nail polish when he was still trying to get his business off the ground and give his shoes a trademark. as for the arch, its no different than other shoes.

          • Anonattorney :


          • That just says that “a” high heel mimics a woman’s foot in clim*x, not his. So you would be advocating against wearing any heels of any height because of this one guy’s comment.

          • Anonattorney :

            Yep anon @ 5:50 pm. That’s clearly what I was shooting for.

    • I think they would be fine, so long as she can walk comfortably in them and wouldn’t be dragging behind the interviewers in the hallways. I’d probably compliment her on them if I noticed them. But, I am at a big firm in Chicago. If she’s interviewing at a small regional firm that is more conservative, another choice might work better.

      • This I wouldn’t notice the heels as an interviewer. My former firm used to walk to lunch with the candidate and it could be 4-5 blocks each way. So as long as she can walk 10 blocks in the heels, go for it.

      • I would not notice the heels if the interviewee was able to walk in them confidently. Unfortunately, I see too many women walking like Clydesdales in high heels.

    • I also would not. This is just for the interview – I see no problem with wearing them once you start working full time (but would also caution the poster to know your office before whipping out very noticeable designer shoes).

      This is a tricky issue. I don’t agree with the reasoning behind why wearing 4-inch Louboutins could be a mark against you, but it’s clear that some people would get the wrong idea (take some of these comments as examples of that), so why risk it for an interview?

      The height alone would not be an issue for me as long as the interviewee can walk well in the shoes. I don’t think I would notice that. I think it’s more about wearing something so obviously designer during an interview that might rub people the wrong way. I would not risk it. And then I would wear them starting week 2 :)

      • +1

        The comments here make it clear that whether it’s right or not, OP might be judged for wearing these shoes to an interview. Not worth the risk. Wear them once you get the job.

  3. 4 inches is fine, but I’d stay away from louboutins – way too intern with the birkin. I don’t think height is the issue so much as the “do you need the job” factor.

    • Wildkitten :


    • I don’t really judge people on shoe brands at either end of the spectrum. What’s more relevant to me is are your shoes polished, in good shape, can you walk in them and are they otherwise appropriate for the setting/season. I think it’s a huge mistake to judge someone for wearing Loubs and make conclusions that they may not need a job. What if they had worked in investment banking for years prior to attending law school? What if their parents had purchased them as a gift? You don’t know the answers to those questions and nor should you.

      • anonymama :

        Of course women SHOULDN’T be judged because of the brand name of their shoes, but the fact is that they ARE sometimes judged on that basis. It’s up to the individual woman who is interviewing to decide if she thinks it is worth that probably slight risk, or a sign that a place is not the right fit, or not a big enough deal to worry about, or not a big enough to deal to not just grab the next pair of black pumps.

  4. Did she ask about a job interview? If so, that was edited out of the post–all I see here from the letter-writer is that she is soon to start law school. No reference to where or when she’d be wearing the shoes.

    I have nothing helpful to say regardless–4″ would be misery for me in any situation.

    • yep – first paragraph

      • I meant in the actual message from the reader. The first paragraph looks to be written by Kat.

    • I wouldn't :

      Eek — if not to an interview, where? These aren’t exactly school shoes.

      • As another commenter said, if you’re interviewing, don’t make your outfit remarkable, in any way. Just don’t go there.

        Just…no. I would not interpret fancy accessories as taking pride in your appearance, as Kat suggests above. Sorry–I’m judgy. I would find such shoes over-the-top and unnecessary for an entry-level associate. I would find them a wee bit vain and silly. It would make me see the interviewee in a negative light. Not such a negative light that the candidate couldn’t overcome it, but….just one data point that’s negative. Why do that?

        Just buy a nice, non-descript pair of heels. Period. No Loubies necessary.

        • Agreed. We can go on all we want to about how wrong it is to judge others, but this entire post/site would be pointless if we didn’t.

          • Also, if we’re talking about job interviews, the whole thing is about judging the person. That’s literally why you interview them. We can complain that judging people is awful all that we want, but that doesn’t mean that you can just pretend that it doesn’t exist (at least, not unless you have awesome options and can afford to be choosy); it’s a fact of life.

    • +1. Particularly, don’t wear anything you can’t walk and keep up with a dude in. Nothing looks more ridiculous than running to a meeting with a co-worker and the female unable to keep up/breaking into a jog every few steps because the shoes aren’t good for walking. I’ve witnessed it. It’s awful.

  5. Managing jr associates :

    I’d like some advice. I’m a senior associate and I’m having trouble with a junior associate who is sloppy, misses internal deadlines etc. I know she’s overwhelmed with another matter that is kind of crazy and is doing a good job on that, but at the same time, I need things done. I’ve tried giving feedback but nothing really changes. What to do?

    • By “tried giving feedback” what do you mean? Was it clearly stated and heard as feedback?

    • I’ve been the junior associate in this situation before, and it’s really, really hard – by the time that I got around to doing the “non-urgent/crazy” project, it was late in the night and I couldn’t focus and made sloppy mistakes. I tried and tried to proof, but given that I was still in many ways figuring out the basics of what I was doing, I just had no brain power left to ensure that everything was top-notch. Is there any way at all to re-staff the case or to bring in another person? Can you talk with the senior associate on the other case about reducing her burden with that case? I honestly don’t think there’s much of a way to change her habits if this is really an issue of her being overburdened with work.

      • Managing jr associates :

        I’m not sure if being overwhelmed is the only issue. She doesn’t seem to take any accountability. She never apologizes for her mistakes or says how she’ll try to change going forward but just says “ok”. Your comments are helpful though because they make me think I just need to find someone else.

        • Anonymous :

          “She never apologizes for her mistakes”

          …every bit of advice ever give on this site says never apologize.

          • To be fair, that’s not accurate. I know you’re being facetious (somewhat), but I’ve told people on this site that when you do make a mistake, you need to apologize, own it, and explain why it won’t happen again. I would seriously question working with someone who does not apologize, ever.

          • +1000!

        • Knowing how to handle criticism is one of those soft skills that she just may not have. It’s a fine line to walk in how to respond properly, you don’t want someone who falls all over themselves apologizing and takes the blame for everything, but at the same time, you don’t want someone to act as if they don’t care. Perhaps she needs a lesson in how to own her work and any mistakes? If you are mentally dinging her for not apologizing/admitting that she screwed up, you should tell her that. I feel like there is so much emphasis in the workplace on not showing emotion, being tough, etc, that people overlook the importance of admitting mistakes. So tell her that step 1 is apologize/own the mistake and step 2 is setting forth how to fix it. I think TBK’s advice below is good.

    • Insecure First-Year :

      I can’t offer advice, but maybe I can offer some perspective from the other side.

      Maybe she truly doesn’t have time to do your work. Sometimes senior associates just demand that I do their work without asking whether I have time to do it. I pretty much feel like I can’t say no to work, ever. But if someone asks whether I have time I feel more comfortable saying, “Yes, I have time starting next Thursday” or something like that. I understand that they are super busy and have a whole different set of pressures than I do. But I also want them to respect that multiple attorneys are giving me work and that all of their work is just as important from my perspective. (As a very whiny aside, I secretly carry resentment toward those senior attorneys who act like nothing else matters other than their work. That’s especially true when they’re piling the work on me and the junior associate in the office next to me is working 8-5. Clearly he needs more work, and it’s hard to understand why they can’t see that.)

      Also, if she’s doing a good job on other projects, then it suggests that she’s not just lazy but her issues have something to do with your projects. Maybe it’s what roses suggested. Or, from a cynical view, maybe she doesn’t like working for you and is hoping you’ll just stop giving her work.

      That said, I don’t think there’s any excuse for not telling you that she’s going to miss a deadline.

      • Sr Associate :

        Seriously? My job is to delegate work to you. And you can say a qualified no. Examples include “I’m working on X for Attorney Y” or “What is your timeline? I can’t start this until tomorrow.”

        As for your cynical view about not wanting to work for a particular senior attorney – you don’t get to choose. You’re a junior associate and your job is to do good work on all of your assignments.

        The reason the junior associate next door doesn’t have enough work is because he blew deadlines, didn’t proofread and otherwise whined about working for me and anyone else who tried to hold him accountable.

        OP, I like some of TBK’s advice but I don’t play the false deadline game. I just set the deadline that is appropriate and it’s not false if I want/need it a day or two in advance of what the “real” deadline is. I’m with MJ – sit this person down in person, have a discussion, set your expectations and then go from there. I’ve also worked for partners that don’t want to know how the sausage gets made and don’t want to be involved in what they would consider petty staffing disputes. They want people at my level dealing with it. That being said I would absolutely include it in a performance review when the time comes. State the challenges/performance issues, note any improvement (or not) and whether you want to keep giving this associate work in future.

        • Insecure First-Year :

          I meant to offer another perspective in an effort to help. I didn’t mean to imply that you were somehow in the wrong in this situation. Totally unnecessary to respond like I’m an idiot who doesn’t understand how a law firm works.

          I completely understand that your job is to delegate work, but you should also understand that it’s really hard to say no as a new associate. Especially because some senior associates can be not-so-nice if you try and say that you have other things in front of their project. Example: I set aside my entire workload for two weeks for attorney A’s project; attorney A comes to me day after that deadline asking me to take another; I say, sure, I have time starting X day; attorney A freaks out, yells “we’re all drowning here,” and ignores me in the hallway for the next week. So please understand if a new associate is less-than-assertive about her workload. My point was just that you might have clearer communication and a better working relationship with her if you showed respect for her time by asking what her workload looked like.

          The situation with the junior associate might be totally different. She might be just like my office neighbor who works 8-5. I don’t know, and I don’t mean to assume. Again, I just meant to offer one perspective.

      • This. Also, the feedback you give below (e.g., “there were errors, pls dblchk next time” and “tell me if you are going to be late”) is really not helpful and mildly insulting.

        The jr is trying to fit this project in around the more important project, has probably triple checked her work, and thought she could finish it by the “deadline” (jeesh, it’s an internal deadline, those are meant to be missed!). But the jr was exhausted, interrupted by the other more important project, and you are really not giving helpful feedback. When this happens, take the high road: mark-up corrections to the errors, drop by her office before the deadline to check on her progress (just once!), and acknowledge that this project is not a priority (so why are you making it one?).

        When giving her feedback, giving her helpful, actionable tips like “read the brief out loud to yourself to proofread” or “read the brief backwards to check for errors” or “read the brief line by line using a ruler (and read each line backwards)” or whatever gymnastics meet your approval.

        • I don’t think this is helpful, and I’m not sure where you are getting that OP’s project isn’t a priority or that the junior associate is trying to fit OP’s project around a “more important” project (as opposed to just a bigger project). Learning to balance workload is a skill we all have to master. As a junior partner, I’m delegating to associates at all levels. I am already swamped. I can’t do my job and their job, and quite frankly I will resent having to try. I don’t get to just not get to things because I’m too busy, and neither do the associates. I’m sure it sucks being accountable to partners or senior associates you think are horrible, but I assure you that being accountable to the client whose money we are spending and whose issue hangs in the balance can be much worse.

          I also don’t see how OP’s email corrections are even remotely insulting. If I have time and think a junior gives a crap, I’m happy to discuss tricks that work for me in reviewing documents and managing time. But, sometimes I don’t have time. I just think you are projecting some of your own frustrations onto a situation that may be very different.

          • Just Made Partner :

            I co-sign RR and AnonAttorney here.

            Blowing deadlines is completely unacceptable. Poor quality work riddled with typos is completely unacceptable. Inability to comprehend and acknowledge constructive criticism is unacceptable. Refusal to take ownership of mistakes is unacceptable. Repeated incidents of this are eventual grounds for termination.

            Here’s the thing – the junior associate doesn’t get to decide whose work is more important. When I was a senior associate the task of staffing/work flow often fell to me. Everyone thinks their project is the most important – the client, the partner, the senior associate. The junior needs to learn to start thinking like that and start treating the senior attorneys (senior associates included) as clients. Learn to clarify deadlines, learn how to effectively push back when you can’t possibly take on another assignment, learn to seek out guidance on how best to manage your work load so that everything gets done at a high level. Speak up, be professional and ask how to best manage competing deadlines. I’d rather have had that conversation than have to restaff something at the 11th hour. Echoing RR, it’s a two way street and I am more than willing to give an interested associate that guidance. However, when I get a bored non-responsive “ok” back I am way less enthusiastic about investing my limited time in making you a good lawyer because I know you won’t be here that long.

            As a junior partner, I’m still in that trench a lot of the time — trying to staff deals, manage my own work, deal with clients, review Jr work, AND develop my own business. I earned this by doing great work, admitting my mistakes and making sure they didn’t happen again, managing expectations (including my own), hard work, and some luck (practice group busy at the right time, good sponsor/mentor).

            Regarding the burnt bridge: it’s already a problem. Lawyers have long memories. Someone up thread mentioned a colleague who “only works 8-5” while they have too much on their plate. Well, my guess is that 8-5 person has burnt one too many bridges and is not being given more than the bare minimum of work. Good associates don’t go un -(or under)utilized when there is too much/enough work.

            I’m sure some of you will think I’m a jerk. I know some of the junior associates at my firm think I’m an ogre but I don’t care. Your tune will change when you’re responsible for the bottom line, including the client’s outcome and the firm’s profitability. At some point, it becomes too time consuming to invest time/effort in explaining this stuff to associates who don’t understand/accept their place in the system and won’t meet me halfway. A junior associate like the one in this example would not last long at my firm once they had been given a straight talk about expectations.

          • Managing jr associates :

            Yes, this is exactly how I feel. I’ve given this same feedback orally and in email (for documentation purposes) and I kind of feel like I’m banging my head against a wall. Though today she really stepped up with some good analysis and continual updates so I’m hoping the meh “ok” was taken to heart.

        • Anonattorney :

          I agree with RR. Blowing deadlines is unacceptable, and OP should be pointing that out. I think that from what OP has said, Jr Assoc’s work is simply not okay.

          1) If Jr can’t get the work done on time, Jr needs to cop to it and let Sr know so she can reassign the work. Work needs to get done. Everyone’s on the same team.

          2) It doesn’t matter that both are associates. Sr will be partner soon and Jr will still be an associate. At this point Jr is on her way to burning bridges with Sr. That’s going to be a PROBLEM for Jr down the line.

          3) I’m not sure why internal deadlines aren’t as important. Usually I get internal deadlines because the partner needs to review my work, run a draft by the client, make any changes the client has requested, and prepare to file (this varies obviously depending on the project).

        • Managing jr associates :

          RR, thanks. I think we’re both on a similar page about how we handle things. You’re right that the other matter isn’t more important, it’s just crazy!

  6. Managing jr associates :

    I clearly stated it verbally and in email with statement such as “the documents you sent had errors. Please double-check going forward” or “when you said you’d send me a draft on Wednesday, I expected it then. Please be on time and if you’re not going to be able to make a deadline, let me know versus letting the time pass by” and the answer is “ok”. I don’t know how to make sure it was understood as feedback since clearly nothing is changing.

    • First, I’d have a meeting with the junior associate and say just what you’ve said here, that there have been multiple times that the associate sent documents with errors, missed deadlines, and anything else that’s been an issue that’s been repeated. Ask what steps the associate is taking to fix those problems. Then make suggestions for things that might work better. For example, if the associate is only proofreading his/her own work, suggest getting another junior associate or a paralegal on the case to also do a read-through. For deadlines, say you’ll have to micromanage a bit more and set more frequent deadlines for check-ins to make sure things are on schedule. But also make clear that, as a professional, it’s the associate’s responsibility to make sure these things improve. Second, CYA by creating false deadlines for the associate and doing other things to rely less on him/her (fair to you? no, but ultimately you need to do whatever you have to to make sure the work is done and done correctly). Finally, assuming things don’t change, either include these issues in the associate’s review, if you’re part of the process, or talk to the partner about them. While you don’t want to be a tattle tale, you also want to make sure the partner is aware if there’s an issue with one of his/her associates.

      • Cosign what TBK said…giving feedback via email–even if you think it’s clear, can be interpreted really differently by the recipient, so an in-person meeting would be much better for this type of thing.

        If you care about this associate and his/her development, sit him or her down and explain that something needs to change–the work is not up to your expectations and is not client-ready. Ask what he or she did before and perhaps provide suggestions so that the same result does not occur. Tell him or her that you may need to speak with the partner about writing his or her time off, and that’s not a conversation that you want to have.

        Based on the junior’s reaction, try to determine whether this associate is “sandbagging” by trying to get out from under you, or is just flat dab overwhelmed (and genuinely looking for concrete suggestions on how to do better). If you think the junior really does want to do better, without being threatening, let him or her know that his or her work product is _constantly_ evaluated, and it reflects on his or her future at the firm. It matters. Everything matters. That’s the breaks in firm life.

        TBK’s suggestion about speaking with folks above is a know-your-office sort of thing. I have worked for partners who care not what goes on below. I have also worked with partners who are very invested in how their juniors are coming along. So..if there’s an appropriate time to bring it up, I would speak to a partner about the quality of the junior’s work, but only if you think it would not cause the partner to wholly “write off” the junior forever. Some partners hold major grudges, and I truly believe that juniors should get some time to make mistakes and find their way through a firm. So…tread lightly with this.

        • I disagree with the advice to let the junior know that she is constantly being evaluated and it impacts on her future with the firm. Associates already know that. And I stongly suspect that she will already be freaking out after this “talk” without such a warning if she has any pride in her work, needs the money, likes the job. The only associates I know who would not be freaked out by just the talking to are those who don’t care if they get fired and therefore, would not be bothered by the implied threat. Such a statement would just convivnce me I don’t want to work for you and that I should look for a different firm.

          I also disagree with the worring about writing off her time. You can’t both (1) tell her to spend more time proof-reading the assignment in order to fix such errors and (2) tell her that she is spending too much time on the assignment. Please, it doesn’t sound like she is completing the work incorrectly – i.e. your not complaining that she missed case law that she should have easily found. She did the research correctly, but should spend MORE time to correct errors.

    • As an associate who gets loads of work from different partners (who do so because they like my work, compared with other associates), but who gets seriously overloaded by their “generosity,” I think you might want to talk to her about her workload. If that is the issue (that she is floundering trying to do both), and she is pretty junior, she may not feel like she can say no or that she has a lot of control over her workload.

      If that is the case, can you talk to the other attorney who is giving her work to try and prioritize between you two? And, most importantly, give her permission to manage her workload, by telling her to be realistic about what she can do while keeping the quality of her work up. Yes, she *should* know that she can tell assigning partners and associates about what her availability is like, but if she is junior, she may be trying to juggle too many things and then predictably dropping them.

      • Managing jr associates :

        Thanks everyone for your comments. It’s good to hear from everyone, but especially from people in a similar situation as me.

  7. My best friend wears shoes like this all.the.time and looks completely natural in them, as if she was born wearing ’em. You never look at her and think, “wow, she’s wearing high heels!” You just think, “she looks fabulous!” In fact, I don’t even notice her shoes as heels, just notice that she is taller than me in them.

    I also see a lot of women wear similar shoes (red sole or not) and not look that great — and yes, they are often law students or newly out — and all I can think of is “this person misunderstood the idea of what is appropriate here.” I’d say for every woman I’ve seen that pulls this kind of heel off, I’ve seen a dozen who don’t.

    Not everyone can give themselves an honest reality check with this sort of thing, but my thinking is if the shoes look like they’re wearing you, they’re not appropriate, but if you look like you’re wearing the shoes and you can walk around in them properly (not everyone can!), knock yourself out. Personally, I know that I wouldn’t be able to pull them off on a job interview without looking like I am trying waaaaaay too hard and missing the point. But only you can know yourself.

    • Wildkitten :

      Yes – There are definitely women who have done their 10,000 hours wearing 4 inch heels and can pull them off. I am not one of them.

  8. Kontraktor :

    For interviews, I think 4 inches is too high simply because it’s probably a little more difficult to walk in that without feeling in pain at some point. You never know how much walking may be involved in an interview (spontaneous lunch 10 blocks away, tour of entire 8 floors of building when elevator is out, etc.), so I think it’s better to choose shoes that you know with 100% certainty you can walk quite a distance in.

    In terms of wearing the luxury shoes per se, I really think it depends on environment. I’ve seen women trouncing around in airports wearing their Loubies and all I can think is, really? You’re not in the board room and you really want to scuff, scratch and mess up your $1000 shoes in a dirty, grimy place that also requires you to walk fast/be nimble/etc? I admittedly kind of roll my eyes at that, but maybe I am just super careful with my few nicer items. that aren’t even as nice as Loubies I agree with the assessment that it would probably be okay in a super ritzy white shoe firm in a big city; elsewhere could be hit or miss. And yes, fortunately or unfortunately, there could also be position status judgement involved ala the Birkin bag intern; whether we like it or not, we do have to consider those perceptions. Possibly okay to wear visibly status symbol items interviewing for a more senior position; maybe less so for a more junior or entry level one.

    Finally, I think you could also get away with it if the rest of your outfit was plain and fairly unbranded. Shoes might be more likely to blend in that way.

    • Diana Barry :

      Yup. Particularly if you are not in NYC, people may be judgy over those shoes – ding 1 for the red sole and ding 2 for the heel height.

      • No one would judge in LA. I’d probably compliment them. We don’t walk here.

    • Meg Murry :

      Yes to the stairs! If you can’t walk up or down stairs in your interview shoes without clinging to the banister or clomping like an elephant – you need different shoes, no matter the heel height. This is my personal check on whether I should wear a certain pair of shoes to an event – how well can I handle the stairs in them?

  9. Anon BigLaw associate :

    I interviewed in 4-inch Louboutins both for summer associate and lateral positions and got plenty of offers for both. If I were interviewing someone wearing 4-inch Louboutins, I’d think the interviewee had good taste in shoes.

  10. If you’re confident in your four inch Loubies then go for it. It is something I would notice as an interviewer, only in a positive sense – it would give me an easy conversational topic. As long as we’re talking about plain black or nude closed-toe pumps then I don’t see the problem. However, to echo some points above, make sure you know how to properly walk in the shoes and consider adding vibrams or another protector to the soles so that you won’t slip on carpet or marble floors.

  11. Loubous and interviews would be ok imo if you’re currently employed and looking to work elsewhere. If you don’t currently have a job or youre a student, don’t do it. Also, I think 4″ would be appropriate with a pantsuit, but I can’t say the same for a skirt. I also think they only make sense if you’re really short. I’m 5’11” so I would never set foot at work in 4″ heels. But if you’re 5’…

    • I’m pretty tall and I wear tall shoes all the time. I feel like having big feet makes the slope more comfortable, plus I don’t mind the extra height. It makes me feel powerful.

      • +1 – I’m tall too & wear higher heels because I’m tall. I look silly in shorter heels – it’s a proportion thing.

        • Killer Kitten Heels :

          +2. I’m a shorty, and anything beyond around 3.5″ heels makes me look like a little kid who got into her mother’s shoe closet, because the height of the heel is out of proportion to my leg.

          • Manhattanite :

            +1 Same with pointy toe shoes. Makes my already big for me feet look even longer in proportion to my lack of height.

      • Agreed! I am 6′ and love wearing my Louboutins. Just because we are tall doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice wearing lovely high heels!

  12. Anon in NYC :

    Maybe it’s just me, but I don’t think I would notice or care if an interviewee was wearing Louboutins or carrying a Birkin. Does it really matter if they own expensive things? I don’t know their financial situation. It wouldn’t affect my opinion of whether they really wanted/needed the job.

    Would I notice if the interviewee seemed really tall? Yes. Would I judge if the person was wearing 4-inch heels? Maybe, depending on the shoe and if they couldn’t walk in them. I can’t walk in 4-inch heels, so I don’t wear them. But I’d like to think that conservative shoes with a high heel would not negatively affect my view of the person’s qualifications for the job.

    • I think this is how I feel. If you’re a four-inch heel person, meaning you’re comfortable and can walk in them, then they’re not “four inch heels,” they are just your shoes. Beyond that, what brand they are or how much they cost is absolutely none of my business.

      Actually, I’d go further to say that the only “appropriateness” metric I think is fair to apply is whether the shoes / suit / etc. are sufficiently formal for the occasion—a standard that applies to all men too. When we get into “appropriate” with reference to heel height, skirt lengths, inches of cleavage, etc., we are getting into territory I find problematic because it’s so subjective, and we are inviting the application of additional criteria that screen out only women. There is also a classist element, imo, in the sense that “insiders” can keep up with what the unspoken criteria are, and therefore keep out the “not like us” crowd.

      I also think there’s additional tension/ hypocrisy in judging someone based on the designer, in that it seems funny to me that in order to even be able to impose this kind of superficial judgment on someone, you’d first have recognize the designer, understand the price point, and then *care* about that.

      • preg anon :

        I completely agree with this post, especially about the part that these criteria only weed out women. Yes, there are criteria that apply to both (looking polished, pressed, etc.), but there is a whole set that applies only to women.

      • ThisThissityThisThis!!!! thank you AEK

      • I couldn’t agree more with this post. Agree that we’re weeding out women, agree that there’s a classism element, and the hypocrisy element. Instead of all of that, why not just not care what shoes someone is wearing or what purse they’re carrying, as long as they are otherwise formal enough for the occasion?

  13. +1 for the 6 block rule, but I would make it a “1 mile” rule.
    I wore heels to an all-day interview in a group of mostly men. We were given a tour of the entire corporate campus (walking about 1 mile), which for some reason included walking up a grassy hill? The tour leader (a guy) looked at my shoes as I’m sinking into the grass, and said “Oh. I didn’t think about that.”

    • Ugh! Men never have to think about this. I’m still looking for the elusive flattering and comfortable work shoe. Any sort of heel is tiring after a few hours, ballet flats offer no support, other flat shoes are often dowdy. So envious of my husband’s fashionable AND comfortable work shoes!

    • Baconpancakes :

      At the same time, we’re told time and again to only wear heels with skirt suits, and unless you’re going to fudge it with a 1″ block heel, you’re going to sink in squishy ground. Even 2″ chunky heels sink a bit. I am always annoyed that professional, fashionable women’s clothing =/= easily movable, comfortable, and practical. (But I’m not going to give up my heels for oxfords any time soon.)

    • Yeah, all of the above. Ugh. Heels are so bad for my body and my sanity and sometimes I really resent that I *have* to wear them in certain professional situations. Luckily I’m on the west coast, so 99% of the time just working regular days at the office I can wear flat boots or flats. And also seconding Katie above: SO HARD to find professional looking flats that are also supportive and comfortable! WHY!?!??! I have found a couple of pairs here and there and have just decided I have to slowly hoard them when I find them and then be “that woman” to buck the system and wear my flats and take the consequences. (now i need chocolate)…

      • Anonymous :

        You don’t have to, lady. I stopped. A lot of the women in my large SE city stopped, too. This – and slowly – is how things will change. :)

        • yeah totally with you. I mean that there are still people who think that I *have* to wear heels. In fact it was described to me as part of the dress code for specific activities when I started this job. But I’ve decided from experience that I can just not, and suffer through some sideeye from certain people for the short term, but eventually I hope they will all get over it and it will not be the assumed standard anymore. … It’s just also annoying that we (women) have to put so much time and energy into figuring these things out! Rawr!

          • I see no reason to physically deform my body to meet other’s expectations. Why let other’s opinions control your body? Never understood why women do it willingly. I’m in flats probably 95% of the time, and if I do wear a heel, it’s a comfortable block heel or only briefly on date night. :)
            I’d estimate 90% of the women I see wearing heels can’t walk properly in them, and to me women tiptoeing and tripping around look far more unprofessional than flats.
            If I’m looking for more support in a flat, I just add a cushion like

  14. 35 weeks pregnant . . . just. so. tired. at work today despite going to bed at 7:30 last night. I keep thinking how much more tired I’ll be in a few weeks and that I’ll look back at now as the “good old days’. Le sigh.

    • I hear you. I’m at 35 weeks, too, and am very not happy.

    • Anonymous :

      It gets better! I had a baby two weeks ago, and all the weird pregnancy symptoms and tiredness went away. Sure, I’m up with a baby a few times a night, but I’m not struggling through work during the days, and my body is back to being solely mine (aside from being a food source).

      • Manhattanite :

        Just wait until you can walk up subway stairs and not be incredibly winded immediately. It’s a great feeling having your lung capacity back.

  15. new york associate :

    4 inches? Fine, as long as you can walk in them.

    $1000 shoes? Fine, as long as they are conservative and appropriate.

    Loubs? Not fine, because the red sole is so iconic and screams ‘I’m expensive.’ You don’t want your shoes to talk more loudly than the rest of you. Wear them when you get the job.

    • Biotech Girl :

      Definitely agree with this. I wear Louboutins to work now but would not have worn them to a job interview. I have a pair of plain LK Bennet round toe patent pumps with a 3.5-inch heel that I wear for interviews.

  16. I’d wear Loubs over beat up shoes, but I think it depends on where you’re interviewing and the level you’re at. Entry level at a nonprofit? No. Senior executive? Yes.

    After I got the job, I’d wear whatever I wanted.

  17. I guess I’m just a jealous hater whose recruiting paycheck isn’t big enough to splurge on/invest in loubs, but I would NOT wear them to an interview anywhere. 1) Do you want them to remember YOU or do you want them to remember, “that girl who wore the CLs to the interview”? 2) Sorry, even at a big firm, I think it’s too “Intern with the Birkin bag”. 4″ inches is frankly pushing it in appropriate height for a work shoe anyway.

    Wait til you get the job and then wear away.

  18. Andrea Mercado :

    First criteria — can you walk confidently and comfortably in the heels? If you can’t, don’t wear them. I have to say that there are two additional variables here that need to be discussed. Height is one. I have worked with some TINY women who would be 5 feet or shorter without high heels. It is hard to be a sufficiently forceful presence under those circumstances without heels. On the other hand, if you stand 6ft in bare feet, I think that flats are the way to go because it is not going to serve you well to potentially loom over your inteviewer. The other variable is the rest of the outfit. If you are wearing a short skirt, the 4″ heels are going to make the outfit too sexual for most interview contexts.

  19. White shoe firm is a sometimes racially/culturally tinted phrase used to describe leading professional services firms in the United States, particularly firms that have been in existence for more than a century and represent Fortune 500 companies. It typically—but not always—refers to banking, law, and management consulting firms, especially those based in New York and Boston.

    Lovely. Just lovely.

    • anonymama :

      I can’t tell if you’re objecting to use of the phrase “white shoe firm,” or the fact that someone would have an interview at one? Your comment seemed sort of a non sequiter.

    • Actually, Ashley, it’s not a racist term at all. It refers to the fact that the firm is so old that people used to wear spats to work. That’s it. I’m not gonna claim firms were diverse back in the day, but the “white” part of white shoe refers to spats only. #knowyourWallStHistory

      • Actually, MJ it refers to white buck shoes — the white suede oxfords with the red rubber bottoms favored by WASP men back in the day (not that any of them would actually wear those shoes to the firm during the work week). William Safire wrote a piece about it for NY Times (link below).


    • Wildkitten :

      Wikipedia says its “racially/culturally tinted”

      • Wildkitten :

        I don’t think that’s a reason to not use it:

      • yeah, but it’s a textbook [citation needed] wikipedia moment, since they use the phrase “racially tinted” and then cite it immediately.

        Later in the article it explains that what were considered the top firms employing WASP graduates of the Ivies wouldn’t typically hire Jewish or Catholic lawyers. But I think you’d be hard pressed to be able to cite it’s current usage as having a racist tint. Plus, that makes it sound like the “white” part is the racist part, when it’s really more nuanced than that, it was an even narrower intersection of classism/racism/sexism….

        therefore, I agree, it doesn’t make sense to me to use ‘racism’ as a reason not to use the term now.

  20. I love Louboutins, but they’re flashy. I believe it’s best to dress well and conservatively for an interview, and therefore would not consider heels with bright red soles appropriate. I would say the same for the four-inch heel unless you’re very short. I have friends who are about four feet tall for whom a very high platform heel is appropriate because otherwise the height difference is jarring.

    Could you get away with wearing them? Absolutely. No one you’re interviewing with is going to tell you outright they think your shoes are inappropriate Good chance most people won’t notice. Might you be hired anyway? Sure, if you’re the best for the job and you click with your interviewer it won’t make a difference. But why would risk giving a less than stellar first impression at a job interview? My inclination would be to play it safe. Show up in a well-fitted charcoal skirt suit with stockings, light blouse, black or grey heels between 2 and 3.5 inches, conservative jewelry hair and makeup.

  21. When in doubt, just don’t wear it. If you’re not sure about it, don’t put it on. Don’t you have other pairs of heels? Why would you put yourself at risk for anything by wearing them?

  22. jenna brown :

    Wearing heels make you feel more confident and makes your personality looks strong.As you are going for an interview you should prefer black as it is more formal.Red would look a little more dark.The most important thing is that you should be comfortable.

  23. My 2 cents: Wear conservative 3 inch heels to an interview. I love Loubs but it could send the message that the interviewee is a “rich girl” who has everything handed to her. That may not be the case, but for interviews, I think you have to be extra conservative and extra polished. No pushing the fashion envelope. One caveat: It also may depend on your market. Things may be different in the NYC market. In other markets luxury items are somewhat less common.

  24. sexy heels :

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