Girl Lawyers Don’t Sit Like Sharon Stone

A large, international law firm, Clifford Chase, suggested its US female attorneys stop acting like they’re in “the high school cafeteria.” Ouch.  The UK-based company issued a blatantly sexist and patronizing memo suggesting what women should do to be taken seriously as lawyers.

“Presentation Tips For Women” has caused outrage on both sides of the Atlantic – especially among women.  Many clients must wonder what kinds of women the firm hired in the first place if it felt compelled to issue this memo.  Clifford Chase informs women that their friends will still like them if they “adopt a more formal tone.  And “It is better to be more formal, practised and professional, even in a casual crowd.” Other reminders:

“Sound Your Age.”

“Resonate: fill up your mouth with your voice.”

“Think Lauren Bacall, not Marilyn Monroe.”

Clifford Chase goes on to warn women against squirming, giggling, tilting their heads, eating too little or too much, drinking caffeine, drinking alcohol, hiding behind their hair, and (incredibly) letting audiences see up their skirts. And for God’s sake, keep your boobs covered! “No one heard Hillary the day she showed cleavage.”

As someone who has coached thousands of women professionals in presentations for over 30-years, I found the memo incredibly stupid.  Perhaps in the future the firm should choose applicants from law schools as opposed to those whom they meet in bars and strip clubs.

You can read the memo here.

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