Coffee Break – Tamsin Mid Heel Pumps

Loeffler Randall Tamsin Mid Heel Pumps These shoes make me happy. The little polka dots, the unexpected calfhair, the walkable 2.75″ heel… squee. For the office, I’d wear these with a fairly muted outfit — an all-black ensemble, perhaps, or a navy pencil skirt with a white blouse. They’re $350 at ShopBop. Loeffler Randall Tamsin Mid Heel Pumps



  1. So pretty!

  2. Chicago meetup! :

    reposting from yesterday because I found the new format a little disorienting initially…
    When: Thursday, Sept 27 kicking off at 5:30pm (I’ll be there until at least 8pm)
    Where: Encore Liquid Lounge in 312 Chicago (136 N LaSalle Street)
    Near the Clark/Lake el stop
    Valet parking is $12 for 3 hours
    Terry (ChicagoC o r p o r e t t e at

  3. Research, Not Law :

    I love these! I love how subtle the polka dots are, so they are all business at first and only party when you look closer.

  4. And advice about how trina turk dresses fit? I’m a 6 in theory, and a 6 in elie tahari and just ordered a trina turk dress in a 6. I saw things online about going both up and down sizes. It seems like the dress is selling out.. should I also a size up or down?

    I love the color and the sleeves! I want to make sure I get a size that will fit!

    • Anonymous :

      No idea, but that’s a beautiful dress in a beautiful color. Please report back!

    • my only familiarity with trina turk is a flared shirt dress i own, which is my standard size 2 (the same size i wear in elie tahari)

    • I’m usually a size (or 2) bigger in Theory than Tahari and a size bigger in Trina than Tahari (hourglass/pear, depending on the day…). So given your Tahari to Theory consistency, I’d say a 6 is your best bet for Trina too.

    • 6 should work.

    • eastbaybanker :

      I find that Trina Turk fits a size larger than Theory. Hope it fits!

  5. I’m going to my first Kol Nidre service at a Reform synagogue in CA tonight. Do I have to wear hosiery or are bare legs with a knee-length skirt ok?

    • Bare legs are OK, just make sure your shoulders are covered.

    • I would add: closed toe shoes (or peeptoes), but not sandals.

    • I found a place to go to service’s tomorow, but tonite I will NOT be abel to go. Jim is takeing me out for a Brisekette dinner–my mom know’s how to make it real good, but I am not sure about down here. We shall see…. This do diliegience is TOTALY BORING. I can NOT beleive that I have to do this. I really am a litiegietor at heart at the end of the day.

      If my clotheing allowance get’s upped to 30%, I will be abel to buy 10% more clothe’s for the same price. That is a real gift if true. The manageing partner will probabely be abel to convince the other partner’s that it is a good investement, especialy since I am billeing now on what the manageing partner calls portal to portal, begining when I leave the hotel room until I return to the hotel room, other then 30 minute’s for LUNCH. This is GREAT!!!!

    • SoCalAtty :

      Also, traditionally we don’t wear leather shoes. You don’t say if you are Jewish, and if you’re not I don’t think it would matter, but just a piece of information. Glad you are doing your first at a Reform – when I moved to so Cal years ago and didn’t have a “Home” synagogue, I went to Orthodox services…which lasted at least 3-4 hours…

  6. DC Cobbler? :

    I’m considering having a pair of designer riding boots stretched in the calves. I can get them up now (just barely), but I think they would lay more nicely with a little extra space. Has anyone had experience with this? The boots are 100% leather.

    Also, anyone know of a good cobbler in DC? Quality is way more important than cost for this particular task. Haven’t had the best luck finding one on the internet or through friends.

    • Wardrobe Oxygen has written several posts on boots for wide calves, she might have some pointers on how feasible this is. I’m also pretty sure she’s DC-based (or at least in the vicinity) and might have some cobbler ideas, maybe not in a post, but perhaps you could contact her.

    • 2/3 attorney :

      I have heard good things about Cobbler’s Bench in Cannon HOB.

    • DC Association :

      The absolute best is a place on 21st right above P (and below Mass Ave) in Dupont. Cannot remember the name of it. They do a great job of everything!

    • I’ve heard very good things about Golden Shoe Repair near the Ballston metro (check Yelp to see the good reviews). I’ve taken my shoes there with only good experiences, but I’ve never had anything remotely complicated done.

    • Phillip’s Shoe Repair in Petworth. He did a great job stretching boots for me.

  7. I may be the only one, but I am really not a fan of these shoes at all. I am meh about the color, not a fan of calf hair, think the polka dots oddly seem to disrupt the calf hair, and there is something else I can’t put my finger on. Is it the shape? What is it called when a shoe is shaped like that, with a little scoop down between the toe box and the material around the heel?

    Other question – I spent a bunch of money at once at BR a few months ago, so I got the store card. I just got “upgraded” to the Luxe card. I feel a tiny bit confused about the transition between the two cards, so if anybody has had problems with it that I’m not foreseeing, I’d love to hear about it.. As far as I can tell, the upgrade is automatic, and the new card doesn’t have extra nonsense like fees, right? It looks like it just gives you the extra benefits like tailoring and free shipping, but I’m worried there is some catch that I’ve overlooked. Will my other BR card still work if I don’t hit the $800 next calendar year and get downgraded? Will it work in the meantime if I just feel like using it?

    • Sugar Magnolia :

      I am not a fan of these either. I think they are way too expensive for being a “fun” shoe. The calf hair also makes them more fragile than I would like, being in a cold weather climate.

    • Not feeling the calf hair. Especially the calf hair covered heel (a stacked heel might have worked).

    • I was upgraded to Luxe, too, and I’m pretty sure it completely replaces your past card, I don’t think it will work anymore. If you don’t hit $800 then they’ll send you a new “downgraded” card in the mail.
      Eventually I just end up canceling that card because the rewards were nice, but I was spending WAY too much money just to hit that next reward which just caused me to spend more money. Maybe my willpower is way too weak!

    • Also not a fan of these shoes. I’m not into calf hair, and although I don’t mind polka dots, I don’t know that I want them on my shoes.

      The shape is actually pretty appealing to me. I would say that they are similar to, but not quite, a d’Orsay pump – which, incidentally, is my favorite style of shoe.

    • Cornellian :

      no extra fees or anything, but if you get downgraded they will have to send you a new (less luxe looking) card. in terms of interest rate and all, it’s the same card.

    • I thought the material was polka dot carpet at first glance.

    • Are you sure they downgrade you? I have a BR card that was upgrade to Luxe eons ago and have barely used it in the last 5 years (easily less than $100/year, maybe even $0 in some years). They haven’t downgraded it to a regular.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Mine too, but that was the old policy. We were grandfathered in because that was the policy when we got our cards years ago. Mine’s from 2004, I think. The newer cards require a certain amount of annual spending to maintain membership.

    • The Luxe card has no extra fees or anything and it replaces your “old” BR card. I’m a Luxe cardholder & often use promo code “MYCARD” for free 3-5 day shipping, rather than the usual 7-9 day. Also, Luxe cardholders will occasionally get special coupons, like 50% off coupons up to 5 full price items. Other than that, there’s nothing too special about it.

  8. Hive:

    If anyone is having a slow afternoon and would like a shopping challenge, I am on the lookout for a new courtroom/meeting bag. I’d like for it to be large enough for a few file folders, be leather/non-nylon in black/cognac/some conservative color, and have either a long-ish drop, or a shoulder strap.

    Price range $200-$300. I’m frankly a little overwhelmed by options. I really like classic, clean lines on bags, and am not looking for a lot of hardware or branding.


    • This is my work bag and it’s plenty big enough for a file or two.

      • Ah, I just discovered this bag yesterday. Now I feel like it’ll continue to haunt me… ;)

      • I have this bag too. It’s gotten softer after being used all summer but still looks great.

    • 2/3 attorney :

      I offered this earlier on the ironing thread. It’s not as … structured? architectural? as TBK’s, but it has a lot of pockets and seems to fit your bill. Clearly, I am having a very slow afternoon.

    • Dead Quote Olympics :

      Here is my recently purchased work bag that might suit you — I’m the same way about clean lines for my bags and I have extremely specific requirements for pockets (must have an outside pocket; must have ample inside pockets for glasses, sunglasses, etc.; must have dividers but not look like a grandmother’s pocketbook from the 50’s; must be able to sit upright (little metal protectors on the bottom gets bonus points) and this one even has a special little outside pocket for my work badge. it’s pretty much my dream bag. No hardware; no branding.

      • I have this bag & it was also my dream come true. Unfortunately, it did not wear well. The corners frayed and the black leather wore/ peeled to reveal greyish/white underneath— so the leather’s not dyed all the way through. I took a Sharpie to it and that helped.
        It’s a beautiful bag, and I generally love Hobo products, but this one was a disappointment. I hope you have better luck with yours or that you’re just nicer to your things than I am:)

        • Dead Quote Olympics :

          Eeek! Thanks for the warning. For that price, I’ll definitely be complaining to the company if it doesn’t wear well.

      • just Karen :

        I have the Annalisa also and so far so good, though I’ve only had it a few months. I am a little concerned that the straps won’t last as thin as they are, but it does make me conscious of the weight I put in my bag, which is probably a good thing for my back!

    • I bought this in black, though the brown was gorgeous and I’m glad I didn’t see the oxblood or I might have bought two! So far, I love it.

    • anon in tejas :

      I bought a leather coach briefcase at the outlet a few years ago. I love the bag, it fits about 2-4 files and works well for me. I still get compliments on it, and it’s good quality.

  9. Mr. TBK and I are going to San Francisco next month — recommendations for sushi or dim sum? Or any other place you highly recommend. (Don’t worry, Mr. TBK is already all over getting us to the ice cream place that has proscuitto gelato. Ice cream + meat? Mr. TBK is ON IT.)

    (I’m sure there’s a thread somewhere on this but my googling skills did not unearth it.)

    • SF Bay Associate :

      Where are you coming from? Dim Sum is best outside of SF, frankly. Yank Sing is very good, but can get very expensive if you’re not careful what you grab off the carts. I prefer Koi Palace in Daly City myself, which is easy to get to if you have a car. Sushi – Zushi Puzzle, Sebo, Eji, Tataki (soup nazi style – don’t do anything to his fish), Ino (soup nazi style), or take the ferry to Sushi Ran in Sausalito. Also consider Perbacco, Barbacco, Cotogna, Prospect, Bar Crudo, State Bird Provisions, Dosa, Baker and Banker, Canteen, Flour & Water, Zero Zero, Una Pizza Politana, Tony’s Pizza, Tartine Bakery, Knead. Sounds like you’re going to Humphrey Slocombe for bacon gelato. Also consider Bi-Rite, Mr. and Mrs. Micellaneous, and Smitten. Don’t miss the Ferry Plaza Farmers’ Market on Saturday morning. Seriously. Don’t miss.

      • Wow! Thanks! We’re not planning to rent a car (we looked into it for a short jump down to Monterey but the prices were close to $300/day!). We’re staying at the Hotel Monaco, which I think is right down town, so anything walkable/public transitable/cab-able from there is ideal.

        • SF Bay Associate :

          Awesome. My recs are all very accessible except Koi Palace. You’ll have a great meal at Yank Sing – best to stick with actual dim sum for the most part if you are budget conscious. Some of their more exotic offerings (which I think are very delicious but also not really dim sum) can get quite pricey. Go to the one at Rincon Center, not the one on Stevenson. Make reservations for everything NOW. Things book up 2-3 months in advance here. Also note that it can get chilly here quickly, so don’t forget your layers.

          • Thanks. Another friend mentioned the reservation issue and you’re not kidding! Mr. wants to go to the House of Prime Rib and the best reservation we could get was 9:00pm on a Monday (it was either that or 4:00pm). So we’re trying to get in everywhere we really want to go. Do the dim sum restaurants typically take reservations?

          • SF Bay Associate :

            Yank Sing is popular with tourists and expense accounters, so it does take reservations. Consider getting A. Rafanelli Zinfandel at HOPR. Very few places carry their wine. It’s fantastic. We’re on the wait list to get on the mailing list to have the chance to buy a case :).

          • I’m sorry to be the downer on this one, but I am going to nix Yank Sing. Yes, it is lovely and gorgeous and clean and quiet, but the price gouging there is just ridiculous. I’m Cantonese and I can’t think of a single reason that would justify paying $40 per person for dim sum. No, just never.

            I would second Koi Palace in Daly City, but if you want a place in the city, I highly recommend Hong Kong Lounge in the RIchmond. Note that there are two Hong Kong Lounges, go to Hong Kong Lounge 1, not 2. There are no carts. Instead you just check off what you want off a menu, but the service is fast and the dim sum is QUALITY. It might take awhile, but it is accessible by MUNI (bus) or you could spring for a cab. There will be a wait unless you get there early.

          • SF Bay Associate :

            Lol I agree with you KYC. I never go to Yank Sing, but it is convenient to downtown and accessible for those not savvy in dim sum (English-speaking waiters, carts, etc). It’s better than any of the lazy dim sum restaurants in Chinatown, which really rest on their faded laurels these days. I like Mayflower out in the Richmond, but I will have to try HKL 1 again. HKFL in Millbrae has really taken a dive recently. I’ve heard good things about Zen Peninsula in Millbrae, too. I’m loyal to KP so I never really go anywhere else anymore.

      • This is a great list, but I had to say that I had one of the most disappointing meals in recent memory at Barbacco. Things were clearly not made to order, and in fact were not even completely warmed through. Staff was rude. Meal was very rushed.

        Also, there are lots of great eats in the Mission, which is easily accessible by BART from dowtown. I’d recommend: Delfina, pizzeria delfina, range, bar tartine (not really a bar), locanda, range, craftsman and wolves (bakery), beast & hare, beretta (pizza), foreign cinema, lolo. In the Castro, Frances is amazing.

    • Kontraktor :

      We really enjoyed House of Prime Rib (make a reservation). Really reasonable prices for a ton of great quality meat and sides. For Chinese, it’s not quite dim sum in carts, but I went to Z&Y Restaraunt and really enjoyed it. They have a lot of dim sum type dishes so you could get those + regular dishes.

      • Yes! We have the House of Prime Rib reservation. Mr. TBK is really, really excited about that one. (The man likes meat.)

        • Can I just say that I love Zuni Cafe? If the Mr. likes meat, it may be worth a stop. Their burgers and shoestring fries are fantastic and the place has a great airy west coast atmosphere. (reservations were a must)

          • SF Bay Associate :

            Yep, I agree. The things to get at Zuni are the burgers and fries, or the chicken for two. That chicken is *amazing.* Oh, also consider Aziza, though it’s a bit of a schlep from downtown.

          • Zuni is amazing, but burgers are only available at lunch, or after 10pm on the late night menu. However, their roast chicken for 2, which is always available, is to die for.

        • Kontraktor :

          So glad you got in! We too barely got in. But it was really fun, great service, and great food so I didn’t feel the fully loaded restaraunt was a detriment. Not over hyped. I would definitely go again. I think you will really enjoy it.

      • SF Bay Associate :

        Oh right. Yeah, I don’t eat steak so I forget those. HOPR is a great rec, but they only do prime rib, so make sure you are ok with that. You can ask for seconds if you finish your first slice. Also consider Alexander’s, Bobo’s, Alfred’s, and Bourbon Steak. DH loves all of those but Bourbon Steak most of all.

    • ChinaRette :

      I just saved this entire thread–thanks for the recommendations! I’m back in the States but already have major Chinese food cravings, and was thinking of visiting San Fran early next year…

  10. Threadjack:

    I got an offer from my dream job early last week. I hadn’t planned on telling my current boss (first job out of college, boss of 2 years) until I finalized the offer, but he asked me a leading question (“are you still applying to business school for year?” — he was supposed to be a recommender) and rather than lying I told him that I wasn’t because of this new offer, and that I was probably going to take it and that they wanted me to start soon but would let him know when things were finalized. He was very supportive, but suggested that It would be helpful if I could manage to leave late october or early november rather than earlier.

    Fast forward to today, when he wanted to talk about my transition. I told him i pushed back my start date so I could stay a bit longer, but i’d need to make the 12th my last day in office. His response was basically ” I don’t have any projects that i can give you to own since you’re leaving, and I’ll be away on another assignment until around the 12th for work. Since you can’t stay until the 27th or 1st as I’d hoped you can’t help on the project I needed you for. So you should just transition the work you have and make monday or tuesday your last day.”

    I suppose I am an at-will employee and his explanation technically makes sense, but it seemed a very abrupt and rather cold five minute conversation, almost like i’d been fired.

    I pushed back my start date for the other job by a week to be accommodating and give more than 2 weeks notice since our team is already too small, and by his request haven’t told anyone at our office that I’m leaving yet. I feel like I should be able to at least stay an entire week, not leave on a Tuesday like a shamed employee. At the same time, I want to leave on a good note because I will still need his recommendation for applications next fall. Any thoughts or advice on how/if to broach this with him again?

    • Kontraktor :

      Could you have another conversation with him and let him know it might take you longer to transition your work? Could you frame it as, “I want to make sure I leave the projects/responsibilities I was in charge of in good hands and with good summaries of processes and statuses. I was estimating this would take at least X days to put together. Could my last day be…?” and then suggest a day that is a compromise between the early and the late dates?

      Alternatively, you could call your new job and ask to change your start date to ASAP, but I agree it seems weird your boss just wants you to go.

    • I don’t get the shamed employee part. You are leaving on your own for another position. Maybe the timing wasn’t exactly as you planned, but no one will really care much if you leave on Tuesday or Friday. Enjoy your extra time off. If it creates too much of a money crunch, ask the new employer if you can start earlier. As far as broaching it again, he’s not interested in paying you for another week or two when you really can’t do any work for him. I wouldn’t take it personally, just transition everything well and move on.

    • I agree. If your boss is hurt/upset that you can’t stay as long as he would like, there’s not much you can do short of staying as long as he’d like. I’d just be sure you’re wrapping up your projects completely, and then make a concerted effort to stay in good contact with him after you move to the new job. If he is upset, he may cool down after the work of replacing you has passed.

    • He probably was a bit blindsided by you leaving, and if the timing means that he doesn’t want to pay you for time when you are essentially a “lame duck” so be it. This is a regular occurrence in many fields, and I have learned to accept it as a possibility when I give notice. It is unfortunate, but I would handle this person with kid gloves if you plan to get a letter of reference in the future. Keep in mind that this is a business decision, not a personal one. You aren’t being “shamed” at all, you are just being asked to leave on the bosses terms, not your own.

    • From the timing, it sounds like you weren’t even planning to give two weeks’ notice. For a job of two years, I think it’s understandable that the boss is a little annoyed.

  11. Research, Not Law :

    Styling challenge: I’ve been asked to wear the family tartan for my grandfather’s upcoming 90th birthday party. It’s a kilted skirt, knee-length, bright red/green/white. How can I style it?

    Right now I’m thinking white top with black or grey cardigan, but that seems dull. I have a hunter green jacket which would coordinate, but I’m afraid that will be too school-girl.

    • Honey Pillows :

      Oh man, that’s hard. Any way you could get away with wearing the tartan, but not the kilt? For example, a tartan sash pinned over your shoulder on top of a great, normal outfit?

      Kilts look fantastic on men, but on ladies it’s very hard to avoid looking like a schoolgirl/a balloon with ginormous hips.

    • What’s your goal look here? If you’re wearing the kilt to make grandpa happy, then maybe boring/dull styling is the way to go? You won’t be wearing the ensemble out later or anything, right?

      If the goal is just “stylish in my kilt” (teehee), you could maybe try boots (black, grey, brown maybe?), a (white?) button down shirt, and a scarf or necklace?

    • Kontraktor :

      My initial thought is with something looser and flowier on top to balance out the harshness of the skirt. I am thinking maybe a black silk utility blouse or other loose/more flowing blouse in a nice rich fabric. Maybe pair with some chunky heels or a pair of cognac, knee-high boots. I agree with the above commenter that bold tartan like that is really hard to work with on women and you might look schoolish no matter what you do. I think your green jacket could work with aforementioned loose/black blouse and boots.

    • Accountress, where you at? This is totally your question.

      More details on the kilted skirt – what is the base color? Red or green or white? Can you link to a close pattern? Many tartans have other colors subtly running through them – is yellow or green or turquoise an option? With a solid colored jacket or cardigan with interesting texture – I agree with your instinct for black, gray and green, although brown could work, too. Or rock it up with leather somehow (leather or pleather or suede vest?).

    • Research, Not Law :

      This is a men’s kilt, but mine is quite similar. It’s literally red, green, and white – with a thin black line. No other accent colors, unfortunately.

      Also, I have a scarf in the same tartan. It’s a coarser wool and looser weave, though, more of something to wear for a rugby game than a dinner.

      While I’m wearing it just to make my grandfather happy, there’s going to be a family picture taken. So ideally I would look, if not stylish, at least not frumpy or awkward. I’m aiming for “pretty.”

      I hadn’t considered boots… Hmmm…

      • Motoko Kusanagi :

        How about a black fitted sweater, tucked in (I’m thinking J.Crew Tippi) and flat black riding boots (tights optional)? If you want more color, maybe find a green scarf in the same shade as the green in the tartan?

      • Camel/tan (with or without black jacket/vest/cardigan). Also, bling up – with metallic jewelry. Not statement jewelry, since the skirt and scarf will be the focus but something to accent your outfit. Of course, I’m partial to gold but whatever’s your favorite.

    • Oooh, I love red, so your kilt is a major improvement over the mostly green one I was picturing. Do you have a nice top (I’m picturing a drapey tee) in grey or black? Or maybe a longer grey sweater or cardigan with a thickish black belt?

      Also, I’m super into scarves right now, but I think a scarf in a color other than red or green would be nice. I’d go for something more like yellow or white or brown– anything that’s not too matchy-matchy with the skirt.

    • DC Association :

      Boots would be awesome and a 3/4 sleeve black blazer with a flowy-type top underneath. A sweater-jacket would be cute too! What the weather where you are? Could you do a thin short-sleeve or 3/4 length turtleneck sweater? with the skirt and boots, and a long necklace, that would be great.

      This is a nice tartan. The one i married into is the most hideous yellow color!

  12. Anonallama :

    Tried to post this morning, but got lost in moderation for the c-tail word…

    I have a vicarious shopping challenge! I am attending a wedding at a llama farm this weekend. The dress code is “dressy c-tail,” and I expect it to be very elegant (based on the bride), but…it’s at a llama farm, pretty far north. My dress is dark red, c-tail length, and will have a black belt and probably a black shrug. My issue is shoes. I had planned to wear a pair of strappy wedge sandals, but it’s gotten so cold recently that I want to wear panty hose, and they would look weird with my strappy sandals (I could skip the hose, but the sandals will make my feet sooo cold anyway). I have a pair of black dress heels, but the heel is a little high, and I’m worried that there could be obstacles….because, you know, it’s a llama farm. So I just decided it would be great to get a new pair of shoes. But I need something that will go with my dress and not be too hard to navigate the farm with. I want a heel, and I need wide. I’m cheap, so if it costs more than about $80, I’ll probably just chance my black heels, but I can spend a little more if I can make the shoes work for my business casual office, too. Also, as a heel novice, I’d really like it to be comfortable. The dress is pretty simple, so I can do something special with the shoes if we can find something fun and cute. Oh…and I need to be able to get it by Thursday, because we have to leave Friday to drive to the farm. :)

    Left to my own devices, I’ll probably just wear the heels I have. But I thought if anyone wants to do some vicarious shopping, I’d throw out a challenge! :)

    • I can’t be of much help on specific shoes, but I can offer a tip that I did, especially since you are driving and probably have space for it. Order a bunch of different shoes from Zappos. Take the most promising options with you. Decide once you get there which ones to wear, and return the rest after the fact.

      Did this for a wedding where I was a bridesmaid. Ordered 3 styles of shoes in 2 sizes each. Took the 2 styles I liked in the size that fit to the wedding, shipped the ones I didn’t wear back from the wedding locale. It worked for wishywashy me, and since I did it last minute, the returns were credited in time that it didn’t hit my credit card bill.

      • Oops, sorry, after posting my brain remembered that Thursday is just the day after tomorrow, so that probably won’t work. This week has been so long Thursday just seemed like a long way off …

        • Sydney Bristow :

          If you do it right now and are a VIP member, you may be able to get them tomorrow. Zappos can be really quick with the overnight shipping.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Wedges are still probably a good idea so that your heels don’t sink into the ground.

      There are some wedges on Zappos that come in wide. are $79 and are something you could wear to work.

  13. TJ: I am a brand new attorney working at a small firm in the Midwest. I’m 25, but don’t think I look particularly young, and I dress conservatively. I knew this situation would come up soon, and in my second day of meeting with clients, it already has. As soon as I took a client back to our conference room I got asked, “Are you an attorney?” I immediately responded, “Yes” and started the meeting.

    Maybe I am overreacting, but I feel like the only reason the client asked is because I’m a female. I understand that it’s possible that he would have asked anyone that: older male partner, middle-aged woman, etc., but I doubt it.

    Have any of you experienced this, and what was your response? Is there anything that you did/said/dressed that you thought decreased the questioning of whether you were an attorney? TIA

    • “Hello, client. We haven’t met before. My name is Paige and I recently joined the firm’s corporate team/ recently joined the firm as a litigation associate. “

    • Yes, this happens to me A LOT, even at the ripe old age of 27. Granted, I also dress very atypically for my field (I wear hijab and I’m an engineer). I am absolutely NOT what people expect to see. I have handled the situation just the way you have. I also introduce myself as Ru X, Engineer (or from Blah Blah Engineering) so that clients and stakeholders understand that I am the professional they were looking for. Shrug. I kinda enjoy it now.

    • Sugar Magnolia :

      Yes, it is because you are female and 25 in the Midwest. Keep in mind that for many law firm clients, you are the first and only female lawyer they have ever met. You may even be the first lawyer they have met, period.

      There is nothing you can do to decrease being asked this, other than have a high profile in your community via volunteerism, bar involvement, etc. But for a lot of “regular” (non-business, non-corporate) people, this is just something that they aren’t familiar with.

      Please don’t be insulted by it.

      I am the first college grad in my family. Until I started working as a paralegal, I had never met an attorney. It was a year into my job before I met a female attorney. I encountered plenty of female paralegals and support staff though, so I might have asked this same question.

    • Maddie Ross :

      There will very quickly (oh so quickly) come a day when you realize that you have not been asked this in ages and you are not as young as you once were. I’d honestly give anything for someone to be taken aback still that I’m an attorney, but alas my stray gray hairs and wrinkles are giving me away these days. And I’m only in my 30s.

    • SoCalAtty :

      I’m 31, and short (5′ tall) and I do look young. I’m just about to officially start my 6th year of practice, and this still happens to me. Usually, its “you’re an attorney?” Followed by “you look way to young to be an attorney!”

      It will keep happening and my solution is to just say, “thank you” and “yes, I’m the attorney handling your/the file.” My first year out I was also 25, and within a few months I had a judge tell me there was no way I was old enough to be an attorney and to pull out my bar card. I laughed it off and proceeded to win the motion over an attorney twice my age. The judge ruled, then grinned at me and said “great job, counsel.” It was a pretty good moment and to this day whenever I appear in front of that judge I’m greeted with “Attorney “SoCal”, how have you been?”

      The landscape of law practice has changed pretty dramatically over the past 20-30 years, so I suppose it is to be expected even if it is not ok. Is it because you’re a woman? Maybe. I confess I think (but never say out loud) the same thing now about 1st years, male or female, some of the time.

      Then again, as recently as 2-3 years ago I was asked how old I was while sitting in an airplane exit row…my fault for wearing jeans, hoodie, and pony-tail, but still…

    • It happens to me entirely too often. I have had multiple clients refer to me as [Partner]’s assistant. Once, the client referred to me as the partner’s assistant throughout a deposition, even after opposing counsel corrected him. It makes me cringe. Fortunately, the partner I work for is absolutely incredible, so he makes sure to correct the client, and usually makes some comment to the client about me being a brilliant attorney. That totally makes up for the client’s assumptions!

    • Don’t take it personally. Just explain who you are. You can’t always blame people for asking — regardless of whether they have met a female lawyer or not, the support staff is predominantly if not entirely female at every firm I’ve ever worked at. If they don’t know you, they don’t know what your role is.

    • Wonderful suggestions from all commentors. My suggestion is more situation specific, you mentioned that you led the client back to the conference room. I always have my assistant or the receptionist take the client to the conference room before I get there, explaining that the attorney will be in shortly. That way when I walk in the client usually realizes I am the aforementioned attorney.

    • I am a banana. :

      This happened to me all the time until I decided to be the first person to speak when I walked into the room. Now I stroll into the room and say, “Good morning, I am I am a banana and I’m the associate working on the whatever matter/attorney for the defendant.” You’ve shown control of the situation, which is a good quality in a lawyer when done correctly, and even better, no one has to feel awkward.

      As far as the comment about looking too young to be an attorney, I find it very effective to just grin from ear to ear and say, “THANKS!” and then (if you are feeling punchy like I clearly am right now) stare at them just a second too long…the commenter will realize it was a lame comment and the conversation will move on quickly.

      Man, reading back through that I sound like kind of a jerk/seasoned trial attorney. Maybe I won’t be getting the young comment for much longer…

    • Sometimes there’s nothing you can do. I had worked with a particular client for weeks, drafted all the affidavits, drafted the argument, and argued the matter in Court in robes and everything, and the client came to watch the argument. Afterwards, we went back to the office to go over next steps. As he was leaving, he asked me if I’d ever thought of going to law school and whether I wanted to be a litigator. Seriously.

  14. another interesting article along the veins of some we’ve seen recently:

    • “But at the end of the day, women who juggle children and jobs will still face a discrete and serious set of tensions that simply don’t confront either men (except in very rare cases) or women who remain childless.”

      =record scratch=

      Ugh, that bothers me.

      • TO lawyer :

        I didn’t see this (I guess that’s what happens when you skim). I echo your “ugh” – I hate things like this

      • yeah, but if you read it she explains that she is really talking about the literal physical challenges: getting pregnant, having to take time off to give birth, and the physical toll of breast feeding are just physical realities, and not something you can just ‘overcome’ like some other things are… not explaining well right now, but i thought her explanation of this made perfect sense and wasn’t sexist.

    • TO lawyer :

      Wow… I just skimmed this quickly but I found it really interesting.

      Two things:
      1. This quote really resonated with me: “Girls need to have all their grandmothers wanted them to have, while looking as pretty as their mothers wanted them to look … You try so hard to be who everyone wants you to be while attempting to maintain some kind of individuality and in the end you seem to lose everything.”

      2. Some of the themes seem to echo the Atlantic piece about why women can’t have it all – because things need to change and no human can actually “do it all” perfectly

    • Several thoughts in no particular order:
      1. It’s a loooooooong article with lots of back-up stories. My attention span of a gnat was really challenged here.
      2. I agree that it is all about choices and realization that you cannot be perfect at everything. I do think you can have it all, but not 10/10 in every single area. I’m not 10/10 in each area. I’m bad in keeping in touch with friends and my family, but that’s something I’m choosing to do, so I can focus on my career, my husband and daughter. If I didn’t have my husband who was willing to chose a less high pressure career, we probably wouldn’t have made a decision to have a kid. I also like to think that I wouldn’t have been as interested in him if he wasn’t open to let me have the spotlight career-wise.
      3. Generally speaking, I don’t think women are great at creating a network and maintaining it the same way men are. I know I’m generalizing here (especially here since you, ladies, are very progressive), but if we all talked business and kept in touch professionally, we would be a powerhouse. Instead, a lot of times, we focus on networking with men (which needs to be done too) or don’t really network at all. All I mean is that I don’t think we are very good to take advantage of an opportunity to network with people who are more similar to us and therefore will be easier to maintain relationships with.
      4. Sometimes I wonder if the programs large corporations have to advance women and minorities are hurting us more than helping. It’s basically extra-curricular activities that we have women/minorities do vs. spending our time on other high value activities establishing us in our careers. I’m torn on this one – obviously there are some benefits and exposure, but still not sure that in the long run it gets you to that next level faster.

  15. DC Association :

    It is 5:40 pm here on the east cost and two of the people I supervise left for the day around 5:00 pm. they both got here after I did…and I got here around 9:20 am. This is the second day in a row that this happened. We work an 8-hour day. So, neither was here for 8 hours. I am not sure if they took a lunch break but most likely they did. (one is exempt and one is hourly…so really for the exempt person it is not a huge deal….but it is a big deal because others notice these things and think she’s getting away with something.)

    So…how to handle? I don’t want to make too huge a deal of it because they are good employees and do good work, and our hugely busy time is about to erupt in the next few weeks. But of course, others notice this kind of thing (and obvi, I did too). And not saying something is just going to make them think they can get away with it. And to complicate matters, tomorrow I have to leave early for a PTA meeting and won’t get here any earlier! And of course, there are plenty of other times that I haven’t been in the office for 8 hours.

    Is an email okay stating something like, “I noticed both monday and tuesday you arrived to the office after i did and left by 5:00. You know that our policy is an 8-hour day…you were not here for 8 hours based on your arrival and departure times. If you had to leave early for a reason and planned to put in time from home to make up for it, just let me know in advance. Thank you for being cognizant of this.”

    Or should I just say something? Benefit of an email is that it is in writing and they’ll be less caught-off-guard perhaps, plus they won’t feel like they have to come up with a response. Benefit of saying something is they’ll be quite taken aback.

    Thoughts? thanks!

    • Obvious question: are you their supervisor?

      • DC Association :

        Yes, they report to me. I guess my complex about it is… I am usually always the last to arrive, getting here around 9:30 but I don’t leave until after 6:30 usually. So, they’re always here before me so I have no way of knowing when they arrive. Guess I’m thinking that they never really arrive as early as i thought!

        • Um, I think if this is only the second time this has happened, you can let it go.

    • Maybe there’s a difference in industries here. For me its always about getting things done. If you get your work done and your performance is not affected, I don’t mind if you leave early once in a while. But if their performance is suffering and they’re doing this on a regular basis, then I would mention it.

      • emcsquared :

        Yeah, as long as they are getting work done and are available when needed, I wouldn’t put too much emphasis on face time. And especially if the busy time is coming up, they may be getting some stuff done now while they have time.

        If it keeps happening over several weeks – talk to them face to face. It may be that they don’t have enough work to keep them busy, which you’ll need to address. Or they may be burnt out, having family problems, health problems, etc. Emphasis on pure face time in any of those cases would be counterproductive.

    • Sydney Bristow :

      Could you frame it more as being helpful to them? It could (will? Is?) hurt them since others are noticing and it doesn’t fit in with your office’s culture. If you talk to them or email them and mention that you noticed they both worked less than 8 hours two days in a row this week and that others in the office may notice. Explain that face time is important in the office culture and it is important that they let you know if they need to work less than 8 hours for a day.

    • I think this is the kind of thing you have to do in person; when I see this stuff over e-mail, it has always come off to me like the supervisor is trying to avoid an awkward conversation.

      I would also think it makes sense to have different conversations with the exempt and non-exempt employees, because there’s a different set of issues. For the exempt employee, you might say something like “I know you’re exempt, and it may seem that you can leave early now since you’ll be putting in overtime in a week or so, but we do actually require an 8 hour day every day. Let me know if you’re making up the time at home later, though.” (Though I do have to wonder – if the person is getting their work done and will be putting in significant overtime starting soon, is this a battle you want to fight? Seems to defeat the benefit of being salaried which is that you have a little leeway when times are slow.)

      For the hourly employee, you don’t quite phrase it that way, I think; just say that you do require that you need to be informed about early departure and arrivals and the reason for them.

    • Research, Not Law :

      Has this policy and expectation been explicitly explained to them? The firm 8-hr workday seems to be fading away, so perhaps they have come from previous employers where that was not the expectation, particularly for an exempt employee. If they otherwise do good work, I would expect that they are simply unaware of the policy or of the fact that it is closely followed.

      I personally strongly dislike receiving notes on my performance in email. I really feel that it is best managed in person. I would pull them aside individually to inform them of the policy/expectation and to clarify that you and others have noticed. Then send them an email documenting the conversation.

    • momentsofabsurdity :

      Food for thought – what is the purpose of your 8 hour day? Is it just face time or is there a reason people need to be physically sitting at their desks for 8 hrs? If not, maybe you should rethink it.

      To me it seems like there’s a bit of resentment because you feel like your subordinates aren’t working as hard as you, since you stay til well after 6 and put in your “face time”. I would say to look less at time in the office, and more at the quality of their work. Are they getting things done at a high level? Do they have enough work? Are they getting done the things you expect them to?

      You know your own organizational culture, and you know if less than 8 hrs on the dot is acceptable or will hurt them longterm. But honestly, I think it’s a flawed requirement. You’re working with adults, not children who have to sit in their seats until the bell rings. It might be my inner Silicon Valley/hippie coming out, but as long as their work is getting done… what’s the problem? And if their work isn’t getting done, why not address *that* as the problem?

      • momentsofabsurdity :

        I should note – if your hourly employee is submitting timesheets reflecting an 8hr workday when she actually only worked 7, that is obviously a problem that needs to be addressed. But if she can get all her work done in 7 hours, I’m not sure why she would need to sit around twiddling her thumbs and costing the company money, so she’s been there 8 hours.

    • gov't attorney :

      I’d hate to be pulled aside just because I left early on two days. Yeah I might notice if someone left early two days, but I’d probably assume they had errands to run or childcare issues. Unless it’s a long-term pattern, I just think it comes across as micromanaging to feel like you need to pull someone aside every time s/he works less than 8 hours.

      This is especially the case for an exempt employee. What’s the point of being exempt when you have to sit at your desk 8 hours a day even if you were working until midnight the night before or were attending a weekend work-related conference? In this case, it seems like the person in question does good work, and you know it’s going to get busy soon. Certainly this is the time one should be running those errands, as opposed to three weeks down the road when everyone is swamped.

    • You say they are good employees and do good work. I would leave it alone unless the hourly worker is getting paid for hours she’s not actually working.

      And while I usually think it makes sense to address “problems” with the employee having the issue directly, in this case I think it might be an instance where instead a general group reminder about policies/face time expectations would be warranted. Unless the expectation has been made explicit (and been enforced) in the past, I would not assume the employees know you think this way. If you’re in a position to do so, I’d also reconsider adjusting your expectation on this front entirely.

    • DC Association :

      Thanks everyone! I thought I was overreacting and that is why I posted. I do agree the whole 8 hour thing is archaic and If one gets the work done, who cares. As I said, my underlying issue is have they been trying to pull the wool over my eyes since typically I arrive after them and don’t know when they arrive….and that others might see this behavior and wonder why they can get away with it.

      • They actually might not have been trying to pull the wool over your eyes; if they were deliberately trying to sneak in short days when you got in later, one would think they’d stay later on days you were there earlier.

  16. Good Problem to Have :

    I need the Hive’s wisdom on a choice I’m facing!
    I just got offered a new job. Yay! It would be more responsibility and about a 20% pay bump. The new firm does have a high percentage of female partners, and the guy I’d be reporting to seems to be awesome, but that’s the extent of my knowledge about their culture.
    The decision is tough because I’m happy at my current job. I wasn’t even job-searching, this opportunity kind of fell into my lap. And I’m loathe to leave my current boss. In addition to all the ways he’s great as a boss, he’s also married to a woman with her own high-powered career and he has fully 50% of the childcare responsibility for their two toddlers.

    My husband and I don’t have kids yet, but we’re planning to start trying in the next year or two. Am I correct in my suspicion that a great boss who understands childcare responsibilities is probably worth more than a 20% pay raise? I know, “don’t leave before you leave” and all that, but seriously, I don’t want to mess up the good thing I’ve got going if there’s a chance that doing so will significantly decrease my quality of life down the line.

    Thoughts from the Hive?

  17. To the person looking for three-dot eyeliner :

    This is very belated, but someone here said she wanted the Clarins 3-dot eyeliner but they were sold out. Don’t give up! I use one from Too Faced and have absolutely no complaints–and I think it’s cheaper–and on Amazon it looks like there are more brand options. I went to check because I started wondering if they are all limited edition…but they’re not! Hope it works for you.


  18. SoCalAtty :

    Opposing counsel just served me with notice of a Dec. 27 motion hearing. Who does that? I’ve always operated on the assumption that, unless it is some critical emergency, the days between xmas and New Year’s are verboten. So much for going out of town…

    • Stipulate to continue the hearing to another date you both agree on?

    • Left Coaster :

      Agreed! Can’t you stip to continue or reschedule? Did they clear that date with you first? I try to always give my OC courtesy of letting them know when I am planning to notice a hearing so that we can agree on the date beforehand. If they didn’t do that, you are completely in the right to say that you are unavailable and ask them to agree to move it barring some horrible emergency (which is not suggested by a hearing date three months out).

      • SoCalAtty :

        I’ll ask for a stip, but getting one is highly unlikely. The attorney is insurance defense counsel and seems to really, really enjoy churning the file and hasn’t agreed to any courtesy extensions on anything and didn’t ask about the date. He is very upset I filed a motion to quash a business records subpoena of his. Seems to think that a party/consumer doesn’t have standing to do that (huh?) so he has been making my life difficult. I offered to withdraw it if he gave me something more narrow than “any and all documents from the beginning of time” but he doesn’t want to.

        I have so much time I’ll probably just do a reg noticed motion to continue. Sometimes the posturing really just drives me a little batty.

    • Check with chambers to see if the judge will be in town on that date. You may get lucky and he/she has a vacation planned too.

    • I just received a notice from the court of a case management conference scheduled for December 24 at 3:30 pm. I was flabbergasted too. I hope the court moves it.

  19. Type-A vent: I drafted an email in Outlook during work today to a possible speaker for a non-work (non-profit) event I am hosting in a few months. He’s somewhat high profile, lives a couple hours away and I can’t pay him, so I really wanted the email to be be perfect.

    I sent the email from my personal G-mail account just now and even though it looked good before I sent it off, the line breaks between paragraphs collapsed and my sent message is all crushed together into an ugly wall of text. If I were to receive such a message, I’d probably assume the sender was incompetent, skim it, and be much more inclined to ignore the request than otherwise.

    I’m thinking it would be nuts to resend the message properly formatted though… yes?

    • I would let it go and write it off to a technology f* up. I know our email sometimes does wierd formatting on the incoming emails if they are sent from a different system, so you never know his email may have screwed it up anyway. Or if you are really worried about it, you could resend and just say apologies if you’ve received a duplicate, I’m having some email challenges.

    • If it is genuinely hard to read the message because the formatting is so distracting (like in a forwarded around the world chain e-mail), then I think it is polite and courteous to resend. If it’s just that the paragraph breaks are missing, I wouldn’t sweat it.

  20. SF Bay Meetup ‘R*ttes:

    So, that person at work i was talking about? I was wrong, it’s not ‘ok ok ok’ it’s ending every sentence with ‘sure thing, sure thing, BUT’

    just want to make sure i’m preserving journalistic integrity ;o)

    • karenpadi :

      Is he from the midwest? We tend to end statements with a rhetorical question. E.g., “I don’ know ’bout dose refs in da Packers game last night, ya know?” (Wisconsin) or “Annie Mae brought hot dish to da potluck, donch-ya know?” (Minnesota).*

      I’ve also noted it in Filipino-Americans** and native Hawaiians***. Considering all these groups have some ancient tie to German immigrants, maybe it’s a German thing?

      *I grew up in Wisconsin, work with Minnesotans, and am still trying to break this habit! Ugh!
      **I lived with a Filipino-American roommate in law school and I almost married a (different) Filipino American.
      ***No real expertise, just observed on vacations to the state.

  21. Outfit help please! I found the cutest Calvin Klein royal blue sheath dress at Ross for 20 bucks. It fits perfectly which never happens to me with dresses. Is royal blue too much for a CPA firm (not totally business professional but more business casual/professional environment)? Now it dawns on me after purchasing it that I don’t know what color shoes or accessories to wear. Is it okay to wear black pumps? I’m totally at a loss here and am considering taking this dress back because I don’t know what to accessorize it with. Also, it getting colder and I would like to wear a cardigan but what color with royal blue? Any help would be greatly appreciated!

    • I have a royal (bright) blue dress that I wear to my law office. (Mine might by Calvin Klein also, now that I think about it.) Totally doable, I think. As for other colors, it depends on how adventurous you’re feeling. You can wear black, though it may read a little too heavy. I have worn white when feeling particularly preppy, but preppy isn’t a style I really enjoy, so that is rare. Going full-on complementary colors by using orange also reads really preppy to me, but it is certainly an option. I tend to go for grey, yellow, and purple instead.

      You can wear and accessorize this dress. Don’t return it if you like it!

    • I think you can totally getaway with it. If you’re worried about it being too mich, I would go with black shoes and jacket and no loud accessories. I personally love black/blue combination- I think it looks classy.

  22. anon in tejas :

    thread jack.

    how do you all answer your phone?

    I have a secretary that answers for me, and she routes the calls that I want to take to me after announcing. I am a little flumoxed at how best to answer the phone. I used to answer: “Hi this is FIRST NAME.” However, this has really resulted in a lot of people then referring to me as FIRST NAME in all further communication. I refer to people as Ms. LAST NAME or Mr. LAST NAME and am somewhat required to do so. I feel that my standard phone answer is a little too casual for that communication expectation.

    Also, if this complicates things… my name is FIRST NAME LAST NAME-LAST NAME, which is ethnic, long and difficult to spell.


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