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emcmilla

Question for current law students: tattoos!

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Hi Everyone,

 

I will be attending the U of S College of law in September and wondered if any current students have tattoos. How does this affect (or does it) law student life and interviewing for jobs? (Obviously I would cover it up as best as I could). I have a tattoo of the scales of justice on my ankle and a small heart and crossbones on my wrist.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks

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Seriously? Scales of Justice on your ankle before 1L? Man, are you going to feel dumb if this career direction doesn't work out for you ...

 

To your question. I suspect you'll get widely divergent answers here and elsewhere even from experienced lawyers based on differences in practice area, social circles, and generation. The law is a very diverse profession. So the reactions you'll get from lawyers and law students will vary widely as a result.

 

In my experience, if personal features that are outside the norm (tattoos, unusual hair length/color, dress style, etc.) genuinely fit your character then it probably won't limit you in the long run. Yes, that guy with the leather jacket and the long hair probably stands out in the class. Then again, because of the long hair and the dress style he's probably the kind of guy who'll end up doing criminal defense or something. And those guys? A fair number have long hair, dress differently, etc.

 

Some law students may get this and some may not. The ones that don't ... who cares. You'll relate to a natural peer group, make connections with people who share your interests, etc. That's natural enough.

 

My only concern is if you want to do something corporate and mainstream despite your signals. If that's the case, you might want to think about removing the tattoo on your wrist at least. I don't say that lightly, because if that's who you are that's who you are. But if you want to be that mainstream corporate lawyer, that comes with looking mainstream. It's all a question of where you're looking to take this.

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Not sure about U of S (perhaps it draws a different crowd than the West Coast?) but there are a ton of people with tattoos at UVic, including very visible ones. There are also lots of lawyers and law students with tattoos at the place I worked this summer. I have a tattoo on my leg that was visible during OCIs and it didn't stop me from getting interviews.

 

It doesn't sound like either of your tattoos are very large. I wouldn't worry about the ankle one as much; the wrist is more in-your-face (and less common, as ankle tattoos are everywhere these days) and I would consider whether you can cover it for interviews, either by wearing long-sleeve shirts (to cover anything not already covered by the edge of your blazer), and perhaps having a wider watch strap? This would mostly be so that you could suss out during in-firm interviews whether it would be totally anathema to the firm environment to have such a thing, and then pick places where you think you'd be okay to have such an item.

 

My understanding of current tattoo removal technology is that you could be left with an unsightly blob rather than a small heart and crossbones, and that the procedure would be hella expensive and painful considering that tattoos have become increasingly mainstream and may become even more acceptable, even in corporate/mainstream law, as a younger, tattoo-having generation moves up the ranks.

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I have a tattoo on my leg that was visible during OCIs and it didn't stop me from getting interviews.

 

How does this happen? Were you wearing shorts?

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^ that was my thought process as well. It felt good to get instant gratification to my mental-question haha.

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To the OP - I don't think a little wrist tat will hold you back, even in the corp/mainstream firms. Wear long sleeves and don't worry about it.

 

Also, this is surely obvious, but don't mention/apologize for it in the interview. Drawing attention to it *will* be a negative. I was interviewing someone once and they felt the need to apologize for their ear spacers (as in, earring holes that had been stretched to the size of peas) -- it's something I never would have noticed, but couldn't stop thinking about it for the rest of the interview.

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Hi Everyone,

 

I will be attending the U of S College of law in September and wondered if any current students have tattoos. How does this affect (or does it) law student life and interviewing for jobs? (Obviously I would cover it up as best as I could). I have a tattoo of the scales of justice on my ankle and a small heart and crossbones on my wrist.

Any insight would be greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks

 

Don't get a face or neck tattoo, and I'm sure you'll be fine.

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Confirmation, if anyone needed it: I am a woman, and I was wearing a skirt.

 

I was assuming that the OP was a woman too (on the basis that the ankle tattoo would otherwise be a non-issue, as unfortunately SaulGoodman's kilt-suit hasn't taken off yet in legal circles); if that's the case, and if you are sensitive about the ankle tattoo you could of course wear a pantsuit. I happen to dislike them, but that's a comment for another discussion.

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For interviews, it's just an overall safe bet to cover up. If you get the position, you can get a feel of the firm's culture to see if it's acceptable or not. Granted, I haven't worked at a law firm yet, but I've worked at business firms where one demanded full business attire (I would not show a tat there), but the other one didn't seem to have a problem with co-workers showing them with rolled-up sleeves in a subtle manner. If it's a small one that can't always be covered up, I wouldn't call attention to it, since there are plenty of people out there with body marks the same size (and who would want to scan for those?)

 

I would hope that there's no trouble from your classmates, and I wouldn't want to hang out with prudes who would judge you by your tattoos (OK, maybe a swastika on your forehead would be an exception.) I don't have any myself, but I love engaging others who have them in a discussion about them. I've wanted one ever since I started undergrad, but I can't trust myself to be decisive enough and settle on something I'll be happy with in 5 years.

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Seriously? Scales of Justice on your ankle before 1L? Man, are you going to feel dumb if this career direction doesn't work out for you ...

 

 

Scales of Justice do not just represent a legal career, in fact, it could just represent a deep connection or desire to justice, fairness and balance...

 

Thanks for everyone's input and opinion. I am glad that not all answers were questioning the type of tattoo I have and making uninformed comments about the meaning surrounding them.

Edited by emcmilla
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Scales of Justice do not just represent a legal career, in fact, it could just represent a deep connection or desire to justice, fairness and balance...

 

I just assumed you were a Libra and really, really into the Zodiac.

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I've summered and will be articling at a relatively large Saskatchewan firm, and I know a few lawyers there with tattoos. I also know a few law students with tattoos (though none that would be visible when wearing a suit). I'll most likely end up in the corporate/commercial group, and I fully intend to get serious ink done when I can afford to get something huge done. Like a kraken taking down a ship! Awesome!!

 

I actually used to have a large piercing before starting law school, and I took it out the week before because I thought I was going to have to go 100% clean-cut, straight-laced conservative businessman. Definitely not the case. I'm starting to seriously consider a wrist tattoo myself actually.

 

Cover it up in an interview just to be safe, and otherwise just enjoy being dope!

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