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[FIELD REPORT]Things I've learned as an attorney to make me a better RPW (self.RedPillWomen)

submitted by marymaude

I know we often don't equate careers with the RPW lifestyle, but I have surprisingly found a lot of crossover between being an attorney and being a RPW. Through experience and other tips I've collected over time, I've found that certain things I've been told to help me be a better litigator also apply to becoming a better RPW. I hope you enjoy this list - feel free to add your own tips and ideas that you've culled from your life experiences.

CLOTHES The phrase "clothes make the man" is doubly true for women. You have to strike a balance between professional and still feminine - no one wants those ugly 1980s power-suits to come back. Juries judge a woman on everything from the size of her engagement ring to the colors she's wearing. Modesty is key - nothing ostentatious, no heels too high, no tops cut too low. Think Barbara Stanwyck or basically anything Christian Dior in the 1940s. Sleek but still feminine suits, with touches of feminine color, but nothing garish.

If you dress like a schlub, others think you do poor work; if you dress garishly and immodestly, they think you are dumb; if you dress like a mortician, they think you are dour and have no humor; and if you attempt to dress like a man, they think you're a bitch.

RPW Takeaway: Dress like a lady!

COMFORTABLE SHOES Those five inch heels may be adorable, but if they begin to hurt after twenty minutes, it's going to show. Uncomfortable shoes lead to pinched, unpleasant expressions on your face, and even worse attitudes when you interact with others. Form AND function are important.

RPW Takeaway: Choose a shoe that's appropriate for your venue and for your activities. You aren't going to look feminine if you go for a hike in heels - and you probably won't have any fun, either.

POISE, POSTURE, AND PRESENTATION Stand up straight, and appear confident. No one will take you seriously if you look like a hunchbacked Eeyore. Face life with poise and grace.

RWP Takeaway: Ditto.

CROSS YOUR LEGS ...at the ankle, not the knee. When you cross your legs at the knee, your skirt rides up and exposes a lot of thigh. It's also a subconscious signal to men that you're looking for sex - why else do you think it's used so much in Hollywood films?

RPW Takeaway: Save the sexy leg crossing at the knee for home, and stick to crossing at the ankles when out in public.

PUBLIC SPEAKING Like that infamous law firm memo that made the rounds on the internet said: think Lauren Bacall, not Marilyn Monroe. Try to sound like an adult, not a child. Don't be fake, high-pitched, overly-breathy, or pepper your speech with tons of Valley Girl "likes" and "ums." Speak clearly, in a smooth, polished voice - not too fast, and not too slow. Try not to end statements with a rising tone in your voice to make statements sound like questions. Don't say "sorry" before every question you ask.

RPW Takeaway: Your Captain is looking for a First Mate, not a child or a pet - so you should try and speak like one.

FIND A MENTOR Having a mentor help guide you through the unfamiliar can be incredibly helpful. Advice, constructive criticism, and yes, a safe space to vent can be integral to success. Having an objective person tell you when your concerns are valid, and how to address your areas of improvement is vital.

RPW Takeaway: This sub is great, and if you can find other like women in real life - do so!

HIERARCHIES EXIST You do not know everything, and you are not the center of the universe. Law school leaves most graduates with a sense of superiority over the common man and they think they know it ALL. That's rarely the case. There's always someone who knows more than you or who can do it better. There's always a chain of command. Recognize the leaders around you, and respect that many made it to the top for a reason. That said, don't be mean to the little guy. I've managed to finagle things others can't, simply because I always have a kind word for the security guard, receptionist, or paralegal I deal with each day.

RPW Takeaway: Recognize that there are people who know more than you and that you should listen to them. Corollary - you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

LOGIC, NOT EMOTIONS If an opponent in court knows they can rattle you by objecting to every other question, they will. If you have nothing to fall back on but emotion, your arguments to the judge will fail. If you have no logical reason to support your point, only emotional appeals, you're not going to get far in negotiations. Anticipate your opponent's side and what s/he will say to strengthen your own arguments. Use emotional appeals sparingly as garnish to your logical points.

Don't lose your cool. If you do become emotional, find a way to excuse yourself and don't let them see you've lost it.

If things do become heated, argue "fair." Don't throw in irrelevant points, don't resort to "wooden swearing" where you pound the table, don't roll your eyes, and don't sigh/huff your annoyance. Focus on maintaining your poise and grace. Cooler heads usually prevail!

RPW Takeaway: Your Captain is going to appreciate a well-thought out approach to matters far more than an emotional meltdown.


[–]Iva3442 9 points10 points  (2 children)

A while back, some book came out called "Executive Presence" that was all about helping women succeed and be taken seriously in the workplace.

A pack of my dumbass female acquaintences lost their shit about it because it featured advice along the lines of "Dress professionally, don't yell, don't get overemotional". This advice was completely sexist, women should be able to be taken seriously in the workplace even if her tits are spilling out of her shirt, a woman should be able to dress any way she pleases without being judged. And telling a woman to keep her emotions in check and not yell? Women have a right to speak their mind, nobody should try to stifle a woman's opinions, it's wrong, women are naturally emotional and if a woman just breaks down into hysterical tears on the job, she should still be respected/promoted because not doing so would be sexist. And telling a woman that she shouldn't shout at people at work is sexist as well because that also stifles her freedom to express her emotions. Women are more prone to emotional meltdowns and insinuating that she will be less respected at work for not maintaining a calm, professional demeanor is basically just like treating women like second class citizens.

I tried to tell them that they were being complete dipshits and that all of the advice in that book was actually really good. But then again, I'm just a puppet for the patriarchy, what the fuck do I know.

Anyways, that's my rant. Good post, OP. The attitude of "I should be immune to the consequences of my stupid decisions, lack of emotional control, unremarkable appearance, and impulsiveness, because that's who I am and the world should love me for who I am" is annoyingly pervasive. All kinds of good things will happen when you learn to change to adapt to the world instead of holding on to bad habits and waiting for the world to change to adapt to you.

[–]marymaude[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

And it's not even sexist! It's good advice for anyone who wants to represent themselves well in life, in or out of the office. I sound like an old grump, but when did society lose all manners?

[–][deleted] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

women should be able to be taken seriously in the workplace even if her tits are spilling out of her shirt, a woman should be able to dress any way she pleases without being judged. And telling a woman to keep her emotions in check and not yell? Women have a right to speak their mind, nobody should try to stifle a woman's opinions, it's wrong, women are naturally emotional and if a woman just breaks down into hysterical tears on the job, she should still be respected/promoted because not doing so would be sexist...

Ugh. So common now. At my old position I had to file a grievance because this co-workers rear end was literally hanging out of her pants everyday. She would prop her back up with pillows and sit in a way which her whole backside was exposed to the elements. She knew what she was doing and it was absolutely vile. It got to the point where I just couldn't take it anymore and filed a complaint.

In another example, my old boss (same position) would have temper fits and actually threw a book a someone (not kidding). She got away with it because "that's just the way she is." If a man did that, all hadies would have broken out. She would yell, scream, freak out at the drop of a dime...it was unreal.

[–][deleted]  (1 child)

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[–]marymaude[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

There is another female attorney in the office that dresses terribly. Some of the women make excuses for her "oh, she has kids..." but she looks like a slob. Consequently, she's viewed as lazy (she rather is, in fact) and is now on probation to be let go despite her long years of employment.

One other woman, along with myself, we dress in suits each day. We've recently been promoted, despite not being in the field as long.

[–]blonde_locks 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Whoot! There are more of us here!

I too have seen every single point you have mentioned here in practise. I would also add "disposition and politeness". So often female attorneys feel the need to be aggressive and ball busters in every situation. While it is sometimes appropriate, the ability to speak sweetly, use charm and flattery, be polite and warm are sometimes the best tools for other situations. And similar to how we speak with kindness to our SO those skills also translate very well into the workplace.

[–]marymaude[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

I knew I was forgetting something! Politeness is so important. Being nice can get you a lot further than you'd think, particularly in fields where people are used to having to go on the defensive all the time.

And it's important to be nice and polite to everyone, not just those more important - being nice to that clerk or secretary may someday save you in a pinch.

[–]blonde_locks 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Always be nice to the secretaries. Much of the time, those people run the offices. If you don't get in good with them, all things fall apart.

[–]WhimsicalWonderland 1 point2 points  (8 children)

Thank you for this list!!

What kind of style shoes do you wear (brands, even) that give you height and are comfortable? Besides wedges, I rarely find shoes that can be comfortable for a full work day.

I have yet to find a great mentor besides my own mom. I don't ever take advice for any of my girl friends since most of them are like the average feminist nowadays and are bitchy and entitled with their boyfriends.

[–][deleted]  (3 children)

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    [–]WhimsicalWonderland 1 point2 points  (2 children)

    Wow! Thanks for these links. I'm gonna order them now. :] Been looking for nude pumps anyways and these do seem comfy.

    [–][deleted]  (1 child)

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      [–]WhimsicalWonderland 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      Ah you're lucky. My feet are a bit wider than normal but not wide enough to fit into "wide" shoes, which is kind of a dilemma. -__- Regardless, thanks for the tips! Hopefully I get them before the holidays. Haha.

      [–]marymaude[S] 1 point2 points  (3 children)

      I wear no more than a 2.5 inch heel - usually sticking between 2-2.5" with a slightly thicker heel, rather than a stiletto. I have to walk a few city blocks to court and I've had too many thinner heels ruined by that when they get stuck in a sidewalk crack. If you're indoors, a thin heel is fine - it doesn't look slutty until you add on the inches.

      I like a cute loafer style or thirties inspired t-strap. As for brands, I like Anne Klein or Alfani flex soles. If you have more to spend Cole Haan has some heels that are like walking on clouds. I also add in gel insoles or petals as needed, to keep things plush.

      [–]WhimsicalWonderland 1 point2 points  (2 children)

      How tall are you naturally? I am pretty short (5'2.5") so I generally go for something a bit higher. I can see where you would have to take outside walking into consideration. I mostly work indoors but I would like to get heels for everyday errands as well.

      I've never personally tried thirties inspired t-strap shoes, so I will definitely try those out! I do have a pair of Anne Klein shoes that I love (not heels though), so I will keep looking. I think a problem is that sometimes you try on shoes in stores, it feels comfortable, but after the 3rd hour, it starts to hurt. What kind of gel insole brands do you use?

      [–]marymaude[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

      I'm almost 5'7, so I like them a bit shorter, as my partner AND my boss are around 5'9 or so, and I don't want to tower over them. Plus, walking in an urban area to and from court all the time, I want to be able to move quickly if I need to. If I was in a carpeted office all day, I'd probably go for something around 3" with a thinner heel, as I think it's more aesthetically pleasing, but you can get away with a thicker heel without looking dowdy if you go for a fun, retro style shoe. I usually try to have a fun color or pattern to help liven my outfit up.

      For insoles, I just use Dr. Scholl's. Nothing crazy or fancy. I think I don't have as much problem with that since I keep the heels lower.

      [–]WhimsicalWonderland 0 points1 point  (0 children)

      Thank you for the tips!!!

      [–]Catelyn_Snark 1 point2 points  (0 children)

      I've lurked around here for a while but this thread just made me too excited.

      I'm in my second year of law school and I get so much hate from my female colleagues about my rpw philosophies and prioritizing my relationship, making my boyfriend dinner every night and trying to look presentable at all times. The same women are shocked that I offer to watch my boss's children at the office and won't wear pants to work.

      It kills me that the general belief is that femininity and success are mutually exclusive. Femininity offers it's own unique advantages-why reject them when embracing them will get you much farther?

      Everything you said gives me so much faith that my outlook and approach will serve me well in years to come, perhaps even allow me to differentiate myself from my peers. THANK YOU for your encouraging words-it sounds like you're an excellent role model to female attorneys and attorneys to be :-)