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emcmilla

Question for current law students: tattoos!

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Did you get that tattoo before you got into law school or the day after?

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Depends. Hide it the best you can if you're looking to do something like Bay Street. Doesn't matter if you go do union-side labour or criminal.

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I suggest appropriately sized flesh coloured bandaids to cover them up on job interviews. Through a bandage on your wrist may raise more questions than it answers. Otherwise, while you are still at school it shouldn't matter at all.

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More seriously, tattoos are not likely to help you at all... Although some other posters may disagree, I definitely think wrist tattoos will hurt your chances if they're noticed. They won't inspire confidence among clients and that matters.

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My clients love my tattoos. But their opinions are not generally helpful social barometers, so.

 

OP, just get a cuff bracelet. A simple one will do. Or a watch with a broad strap. It'll be fine.

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Put yourself in the mind of the interviewer. I am thinking a flesh coloured bandaid on the wrist (depending on the size) may say:

 

a) IV drug user

b) self mutilator

c) minor boo-boo

 

Because of (a) and (b) (however slight the chance) - one might inquire about ©. If the answer to © is tattoo the thought that might go through ones head is:

 

a) it is just a tattoo - if you are going to get a tattoo be comfortable enough in your now painted skin to wear it with pride. This person lacks confidence in who they are.

 

b) AAHHG TATTOO - this is not the kind of firm for the likes of you missy

 

c) oh look you have a tattoo

 

Me I would think (a) - if you are woman enough to sport a tattoo, then sport it sister. So I would go with Hegdis' advice - wear something that doesn't draw attention to it. But if it comes up be confident in who you are and the choices you have made. (if this Tat was a dolphin,pony or the like I might give other advice)

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Look, the advice you're getting here is relatively strong, and I'm sorry if I've turned you off by my flip comments regarding the particular tattoos that you happen to have, but here's what this thread really needs to be about.

 

SOME areas of practice are very conformist. If you show up at an interview for one of those jobs looking at all out-of-the-box your interviewer will be thinking that even if they like you they may have trouble putting you in a room with their clients. And as soon as you create that doubt in their mind, then your appearance has damaged your prospects of getting hired. Law is an entrepreneurial profession. That means that it's bitterly unfair sometimes. Should it matter what you look like? In an ideal world, no. But even the lawyers who don't personally care need to be aware they aren't hiring for an ideal world. And if even a few of their clients are stodgy old men who'll be bothered by you, and they have the option of hiring someone equally qualified who won't bother those clients ... why wouldn't they?

 

SOME areas of practice, however, are very non-conformist. At least in lawyering terms. You can have long hair (if you're a guy), you can have visible ink. You can wear a leather jacket to your meetings. You can maybe even get away with some facial piercings, depending. And you can get away with it, mainly, because your clients won't care. Maybe also if you're working in institutional settings like legal aid clinics where even if the clients do care they don't have a choice. But mainly because the clients don't care.

 

This conversation absolutely NEEDS to include some idea of what kind of practice you're imagining in your future. I didn't suggest removal lightly. That's if you want to do mainstream, corporate work. Some may disagree and feel it isn't necessary to remove it even then. But part of the reason you're getting divergent answers is that you haven't added the context yet.

 

Hope that helps.

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I think it depends where you want to work as well. I'm summering in a full service firm in Calgary, and the firm has a reputation for being very conservative, especially in terms of dress (we don't wear jeans on Fridays but many other firms do). But we have a male summer student with long hair and a female student with a facial piercing. I've seen the occasional small tattoo as well. So I think maybe Calgary is a little more relaxed than some other cities.

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A dude wearing a kilt. Fine interview attire.

 

I would hire you. (If I had the ability to hire anyone.)

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I've seen court clerks with tats and nose studs (just a small stud). I've only seen these on women so far, but no one seems to care.

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Agreed with iheartbooks about Calgary being a bit more relaxed. I just summered in Calgary, and I've noticed quite a few tattoos and piercings both at my firm and on corporate lawyers from other firms. Also, I have a feeling the times are changing on the tattoo front, quite quickly. The comments about covering up visible tattoos at job interviews is wise, because those things turn on a dime, and there's no point taking chances. That said, once you've got the job, unless the firm is notoriously conservative, I suspect a tattoo or two won't even make you stand out.

 

Much like t3ctonics, I'm going corporate, and I expect I'll be getting a bitching tattoo the minute I can afford one.

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I have a friend who has tattoo sleeves and incidently used to model for Prada. On our first day of Business Law class our professor, and ex-cop turned lawyer, told him that he should wear long sleeve shirts to class and that he probably wouldn't get hired by any firm.

 

Suffice to say my friend was insulted. He never wanted to practice law anyway. It was unfortunate that he got centred out in front of the entire class by someone that is either out of touch with young people or is imposing his conformist views on someone who merely wanted a legal education to for the virtue of it.

 

I know many lawyers with tatoos. It is indicative of our culture. Tatoos are hardly counterculture anymore. Incidently, I don't know any lawyers with tatoos on their hands, neck or face.

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I've seen court clerks with tats and nose studs (just a small stud). I've only seen these on women so far, but no one seems to care.

 

I wonder if nipple piercings are acceptable now. I've been dying to wear my new shirt but I'm afraid my piercings will send the wrong image.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

manmilk.jpg

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There is makeup specially designed to cover up tattoo for a day. That might be useful in your case.

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I'm coming to this way late, but I figure I'll chime in as I just had this conversation with my assistant about whether or not to have a provision in our employee handbook about covering tattoos (either at all times or at least for client meetings and court).

Her opinion is we shouldn't be policing this stuff, and if we think it will be a problem then we can always just not hire them.

My opinion is that the rules needs to be in place to also deal with if someone successfully conceals a tattoo during an interview or gets one after being hired.

 

Quite frankly, and I think this is true of most small firms (and must be a consideration at larger firms), my resources are few, and my clients are individually important. I'm not in a place where I can just turn work away and it's all fine. Sure, occasionally I will refuse work if I think the client is going to just be a complete and absolute pain and be nothing but trouble (I'd say that, on average, I get one per year that I'm prepared to put in that category), but usually if I turn away work it's because it's not an area I practice. Also, a sizable percentage of my business is from return clients. I'd say about 10% of the money I've brought in over the last 3 years can be traced to about 2 or 3 clients alone because they keep coming back with more work. While these are corporate clients, it's all based on a great relationship with the sole owner of said companies.

Why does that matter? Because it means I need the client to be comfortable. They need to feel taken care of, they need to be comfortable in my representing them, and it means they need to be comfortable with those who I might have work with them, too. Generally speaking, by the time these clients reach the status where they have this kind of wealth, they're older. Older clients are generally more conservative. While I do have some clients who have tattoos (including one who has been a good source of revenue, though he is in the trades), they are few and far between.

I'm also going to point out that not every culture is okay with tattoos, and I find that recent immigrants are not as big on them. For me that's important because new immigrants are more likely than Canadian natives to start businesses and they need legal services but can't afford the big downtown firms. I've found that these more recent immigrants also like to help other immigrants from their group by connecting them to services, which means sending them to people that they know and think well of. I've got at least 4 or 5 such clients who are immigrants, have a fair number of legal needs themselves, and are CONSTANTLY recommending me to others. I think it's safe to say that not only are they comfortable with me, but they also think I will project a good image of them in terms of who they associate with and who they recommend out.

 

Like it or not, a lot of this business is perception oriented. I, personally, don't care what tattoos you have, even though I think tattoos are kind of silly (I mean, I stopped drawing on myself in early grade school), and I think getting easily visible tattoos indicates that you weren't thinking about the image that you'll be projecting, or that you prioritized a projection of an image of your creative self at a given moment in time over how you might need to present yourself later on in professional environments (and the ones who just have a seeming mess of tattoos all over the place... it looks like an indecisive mess that draws zero attention to any one thing and just leaves a negative impression in terms of what that likely means about you personally, and that's whether it's true or not). That said, I'm not hiring anyone to give them a job and to assist them in their journey of self-actualization and what not. If I hire someone it's because I have a need to fill, and that need is to provide proper service to my clients. My employees have NO OTHER PURPOSE! Everything about my firm is to provide better services to my clients or else to enable me to provide better services to my clients (such as the fidget cube on my desk, or the Advil and Tylenol I go through like PEZ). If the clients aren't happy then they stop coming, and if they stop coming then the firm closes or at least shrinks.

 

If I interview you and you look like someone who might be off putting to a client, then you better believe that's going to affect whether or not I hire you. Whether it's because you present yourself poorly, speak and/or communicate poorly, or look like you'd make them uncomfortable, then it's going to make me not want to hire you. Even if I think you'll only make a couple of them uncomfortable, that's a couple of clients I could lose (which I generally can't afford) or it's a couple of clients I can't send you to deal with. Generally speaking, right now, I hire people not to do things I can't do myself but rather to do things I don't have time for. Every minute I waste doing stuff I don't need to be doing is a minute I can't spend on the things I very much do need to be doing. Sometimes, that's just how it is, and I still work late most days, and often 7 days a week. But, I'm kind of done with the 14 and 16 hour days and am trying to move away from that kind of life. If you're telling me I have to move back closer to that, in any way, because you decided to have someone draw on you in permanent ink, then you are automatically at a disadvantage to people who don't cause me that. For me to overlook it, you need to blow me away in other areas or bring something entirely new to the table (if you're going to open an entirely new area of practice for my firm that I can't do, then it's a different story, for example).

 

Keep in mind that at the interview stage you haven't proven yourself yet and your name will likely be forgotten when you leave the room. When talking about applicants with my assistant you'd probably prefer I refer to you as "the one that seemed really confident" or "the one with the really nice tie" instead of "the one with that tattoo." Because I'm going to refer to you based on what stood out, and if your ink is what stood out and stuck in my mind then you automatically have a problem (if for no other reason than I didn't pick a descriptor that reminds me of something good about you).

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I don't mean offence, but everything you just said screams human rights problems to me. Yes tattoos aren't a protected ground of discrinination as far as I know, but you're process just seems to open itself to all kinds of potential issues.

 

*obviously this isn't/shouldn't be considered to be legal advice. At the very best, it's legal information, but even that I would warn you not to rely on it as such.

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Posted (edited)
On 2012-08-23 at 8:48 PM, Zarathustra said:

My God prohibits tatoos, otherwise I'd totally be down.

I never got any either due to their haraam nature. That probably influences my view that I don’t want to see anyone’s tattoos in a job interview or at work. 

Edited by providence

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, pzabbythesecond said:

I don't mean offence, but everything you just said screams human rights problems to me. Yes tattoos aren't a protected ground of discrinination as far as I know, but you're process just seems to open itself to all kinds of potential issues.

 

*obviously this isn't/shouldn't be considered to be legal advice. At the very best, it's legal information, but even that I would warn you not to rely on it as such.

I like it when a law firm in Ontario has a piece up about a topic, because then I can just link to it and hey, it's on them if they're going beyond providing mere information... :rolleyes:

https://www.kcyatlaw.ca/tattoos-piercings-workplace-canada/

I was also thinking, aside from cultural or religious tattoos (e.g. Maori?) what about someone who was tattooed against their will? Probably not too many Holocaust survivors with a number on their arm looking for work now (and that would arguably fall within discrimination against a religious/ethnic group), but there are criminal charges relating to that group that reportedly branded women against their will.

If - that's if - I were looking at a workplace tattoo policy, I'd probably start looking at what the military allows, and if my proposed policy were stricter, I'd wonder if I were being ridiculous. This is aside from whatever the law might or might not permit, I'd want to be reasonable.

EDIT: given that I necro'd a 10-year-old thread recently, I figured it would be hypocritical for me to comment on that aspect...so now I'm being ironically meta by commenting on my not commenting? Just goes to show that posts (or tweets...) like tattoos, are forever... (expensive treatments of varying effectiveness depending upon ink colours and age of tattoo notwithstanding).

Edited by epeeist
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