Lawyers I’ve Known

No. 4: Choose your wardrobe carefully ...

By Dave Grossi  |   Jun 9, 2015

As I’ve said before, most lawyers live large. And I found one that must have a HUGE wardrobe.

I had to travel out to the great southwest for a trial. My client wanted me to sit in on the plaintiff’s case and take notes during the opposing expert’s testimony, so I had to get out there early. I planned accordingly and packed for three or four days of in-court time. It was summer and it was hot out in west Texas.

Over the years, I’ve learned that juries like their experts to appear in either dark blue or charcoal suits. So, my suitcase contained those two staples, plus a lightweight tan and a lightweight gray.

My beautiful wife, had she not gone on to be an adult ed teacher, could have had a great career as an image consultant. She really is a fashion professional, and picks out my shirts and matching ties. Knowing the temperature would be in the mid- to high-90s, she suggested white and light powder blue shirts with the corresponding ties for each.

So for the first day of my in-court time, I wore the light tan suit, a powder blue shirt and a real nice silk tie in orange and blue. I took good notes; had lunch with my client, the officer and the other members of the defense team; returned for the afternoon session; and then called it a night.

Day two’s wardrobe saw the light gray suit, a crisp white shirt and dark blue tie. When I walked into court, I thought I was stuck in a remake of “Groundhog Day.” Sitting at the plaintiff’s table was the other attorney wearing a light tan suit, a light blue shirt and an orange and blue tie. The difference? The tan suit had a cowboy flair to it, which was okay since he wore brown tooled cowboy boots.

On day three, I thought I might actually get on the stand since the defense had started its case on the afternoon of day two, so I dug out the charcoal gray suit, another white shirt and my red patterned tie. Sure enough, there was plaintiff’s counsel all decked out in a light gray charcoal suit, a white shirt and a dark blue tie. However, rather than black tie shoes, this Jerry Spence clone wore highly polished black cowboy boots.

As it turned out, I didn’t get on the stand that day so I had to remain over another day. On Thursday morning, I wore the dark blue suit, my last white shirt, and a red and blue striped tie. I almost fell over when I saw my “illegitimate brother” wearing (you guessed it) a charcoal gray suit, a white shirt and a red patterned tie. I thought I saw him crack a smile when I walked in the courtroom. My testimony went well and I left that night.

When I got home, I told my wife the story about the plaintiff’s counsel matching my attire exactly right down to the tie color from the previous day. She laughed her beautiful head off. “I guess I dress you well,” she said.

Last I heard, my wife had new business cards made up reading “Anne Grossi, Professional Image Consultant” and was on a plane heading out west. West Texas, I think.

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Dave Grossi
Dave Grossi is a retired police lieutenant from upstate NY now residing in southwest FL. He was the Lead Instructor for the Calibre Press, Inc. Street Survival Seminars from 1988 through 2000.