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The 10 Basic Rules for Dressing at a Deposition

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Steve Lombardi
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All week I’ve been covering how you should dress for a deposition. Monday we covered the females, Tuesday the guys, Wednesday the basic rules for both sexes and today we are going to list the dress code I believe works in general. Every lawyer has his or her ideas about what might work in your case so ask your attorney. You might even link to this page and send them an email asking if this is appropriate for your deposition.

One thing is clear if you’re involved in a sexual harassment case and you show up looking a seducer your chance of winning just went south. If you’re the male accused of being the harasser and you come in wearing a pinkie ring, diamond studded earring with a gold neck chain that has the Italian horn I’d say, it ain’t working for me Poncho. My point is for you to think about your claim and how the way your dress impresses along with what it says to people.

If you dress for success isn’t it more likely people will award you monetary compensation for a wage loss or reduced earning capacity claim? Isn’t a loss of consortium claim more likely to be successful with a wife who looks like the church lady than a cougar? So let’s go over the ten rules.

Deposition Dress Code – The 10 Rules

1. Dress conservatively.

2. Clothes should be comfortable.

3. Clothes should be neat, clean and pressed.

4. Shoes should be conservative, clean and polished.

5. Underwear should be under, not over.

6. Cover any tattoos.

7. Hair should be neat, washed, trimmed and combed.

8. Clean and neat – shave.

9. Jewelry like a nun or Buddhist wears is better than Cher’s.

10. Cologne and perfume should be underwhelming, not overwhelming.

Men’s Casual Friday

In this next clip notice the earrings he’s wearing. They distract and I don’t agree that is the way to go. Also the collar is flat and doesn’t look right. It makes a person want to reach out and straighten it. His hair and facial hair is fine. His shirt is pressed. But notice there are times he rocks in his chair. That gives the appearance of him taking a casual approach to this conversation and that’s not the right impression.

In this next deposition, the woman isn’t dressed in a way that I think is appropriate for the occasion. Her top looks like something she’d wear out to a bar and the fact this is a deposition about drunk driving it sends the wrong message. Her hair is nicely combed and up out of her face.

Here is a deponent nicely dressed in a collared shirt and tie. He’s groomed nicely and has no distractions. But why is he sitting leaning forward like he is?  Looking at him do you think it helps or distracts from following his testimony?

And that’s the key, distractions should be avoided. Think of how you look and appear.  That’s enough for today. And just for fun look at this deposition witness and how contentious it can get. This is not what goes on at a deposition; the rules don't allow it in Iowa, but who knows in Texas. The reason for the arguments and swearing was probably to distract and to derail the deposition so it wouldn't go forward. Under the rules of civil procedure, they would all be sanctioned.

Category: General

2 Comments to "The 10 Basic Rules for Dressing at a Deposition"

It is permissible, but whether or not it's a good idea depends on the issues involved.
Posted by Steve Lombardi on December 1, 2013 at 10:26 PM
I wear prescription sunglasses all the time due to sensitivity to light, is it appropriate to wear them at a deposition?
Posted by wayne costa on November 29, 2013 at 04:55 PM

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