Can Lawyers Have Piercings? History of Professional Appearance


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Can lawyers have piercings? Yes. No “law” or Rule of Legal Ethics specifically forbids lawyers from having tattoos or body piercings. The decision of a lawyer to use ornamentation to reflect their style wins out without a doubt. On the other hand, it will unavoidably be governed by any guidelines or policies established by the lawyer’s workplace.

This might be a corporation or a legal practice. In certain law office settings, discrete body jewelry or tattoos may be acceptable, but not in others. A lawyer’s appearance should generally fit the client’s ideas of what a lawyer must look like from a practical perspective.

Additionally, this should fit well with the legal office or business setting where the individual practices law. Said, this makes perfect logic.

Furthermore, Body art, which includes tattoos, piercings, branding, and skin stretching, is nothing new. They are older than 5,000 years. They are also widespread in certain parts of the globe and some civilizations.

Young people in the United States have taken “body art” more and more seriously in recent years. And what was formerly associated with drug users, gang members, and felons is now a typical sight in public places like malls, recreation centers, and workplaces.

The American Academy of Dermatology states that half of Americans aged 18 to 35 have at least one tattoo or body piercing.

This figure has seen a twofold increase since 2006.

 All in all, the increasing prevalence of body piercings presents some amusing legal and professional challenges. Join us as we discuss them below.

Historical Precedent of Professional Appearance in the Legal Profession

Historical Precedent of Professional Appearance in the Legal Profession

The history of the royal and clerical classes is where legal and judicial attire first emerged. Before the early modern era, the administration of justice in European countries was handled by monks and other ecclesiastics.

By the mid-1500s, inferior nobles chosen by European sovereigns had displaced this elite. Their attire needed to convey the legitimacy and authority of the sovereign’s rule since they were the monarch’s direct employees and were responsible for enforcing royal law.

As a result, early judicial and legal attire strongly drew inspiration from the legal officials of the church while also representing the new age now characterized by royal control.

Earlier Judicial Outfit

Early legal attire throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries was comparable to that of judges. The similarity in attire throughout the Middle Ages may be attributed to the idea that attorneys were the judiciary’s apprentices.

Barristers wore closed robes of fabric or silk, much like their judicial colleagues. But these outfits featured elbow-length glove sleeves and high, filled shoulders.

These robes were mostly black before Queen Mary passed away, in line with the Inns of Court laws that governed barrister enrollment and education.

Judges and barristers wore coifs, headscarves, and white neckbands resembling ruffs. In contrast to barristers, who had the privilege to testify in court, solicitors did not. In the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, however, solicitors ceased to wear their distinctive garb and began to dress professionally.

The Black and White 21st Century

The 21st century’s court dress code has experienced a significant change in style and the authority in charge of enforcing it. In Britain, justices, lawyers, and clerks who attend court are compelled to dress in a black silk gown over their suits, accessorize with a band around their necks, and wrap a wig around their heads.

Levels of the judiciary in the United States of America dress in long, black robes made of silk or cotton with bell sleeves and yoked collars.

Male judges are obliged to put on a shirt and tie beneath their robes, but they are not required to wear wigs, unique headdresses, or collars. Court clerks who attend court hearings are not subject to a formal dress code, although professionalism is presumed or demanded.

In contrast to the rulers in the seventeenth century, the High Court, District Courts, and Circuit Courts currently have the jurisdiction to set the judicial dress code.

Social and Cultural Changes Impacting Professional Standards

Although the fast fashion industry is well-established, slow fashion is gaining ground because of environmental concerns and social ideals tied to corporate ethics. An alternate word for the professional sector is the work environment.

Macro factors are the sole external character and are among the many elements. And before engaging in commerce in the professional sphere, the fashion industry has to comprehend and investigate these properly.

Among them are population increase, age distribution, health awareness, career preferences, and other variables. These elements are essential because they directly affect how the fashion industry perceives professional consumers.

The fashion business is one of the sectors that socio-cultural changes might most impact. For instance, the aging of the global population has been observed for decades.

A concern may arise from this demographic shift for clothing companies that cater only to teenagers because of the increased competition in their declining market.

For new or more adaptable established fashion stores, a chance might arise. They can target older clients and provide suitable sizing, straightforward designs, and strong, long-lasting materials. Customers are becoming increasingly worried about their employment, another societal trend.

A consistent rise in personal work costs supports this. Customers may become more interested in the materials used, their origin, and how they were processed. Additionally, fashion companies will need to be more open and accountable due to this.

Employer Policies on Tattoos, Piercings, and Other Forms of Body Art

As tattoos become popular, you may wonder if tattooed personnel are a good match for a firm. Since many firms now permit visible tattoos, workers with body art are no longer restricted to warehouses or building sites.

Theresa Vail made waves in 2013 when she entered the Miss America pageant for the first time with tattoos that could be seen. Pete Conrad, a NASA astronaut, had a NAVY anchor tattooed on his wrist, while Greg Onofre, a Houston news anchor, had many tattoos on both wrists.

If you determine that tattoos and piercings are acceptable at work, you may want to adopt a tattoo policy. A thorough, moral corporate policy aids in avoiding possible issues, including claims of offensive imagery or discrimination. Instead of outright prohibiting tattoos at work, establishing tattoo policies demonstrates your support for uniqueness and may boost employee morale.

Practical Considerations When Dealing with Professional Standards

Professional ethics include the personal and organizational norms of conduct expected of professionals. The vows of a monastic order are where “professionalism” first appeared. Professionals and people practicing recognized professions use their specialized knowledge and abilities.

Professional ethics refers to the moral question of how this information should be used while offering a service to the general public.

They can make choices, use their talents, and apply reasoning in circumstances where the general population cannot. This is true since they need more information and abilities.

The Hippocratic oath, which medical professionals still uphold today, is one of the first instances of professional ethics. How professionals, including attorneys, dress is another.

Professional organizations may use several components to establish their Practical Implications When Dealing with Professional Standards. These often include decency, reliability, openness, responsibility, discretion, impartiality, respect, compliance with the law, and loyalty.

Legal Professionals Speak Out on Body Art 

Legal Professionals Speak Out on Body Art 

Studies have shown that average wages are the same for both groups of persons with and without tattoos and that those with body art are equally likely to find work. Although almost 50% of

Americans between the ages of 25 and 39 have tattoos. It is still lawful for companies to discriminate against workers with tattoos. Therefore, it could be acceptable to terminate someone for refusing to hide their tattoos or for being unable to do so.

Although opinions against tattoos are generally improving, many legal professionals believe that the legal sector needs to catch up to other, more progressive businesses adopting them as the norm.

Some people who have spent hours training in private practice have previously heard the advice to hide their arm tattoos. It was frowned upon even if you could see their tattoos through their clothing. And you often hear similar tales.

A paralegal who had a very little tattoo on her ankle once said this as well. She said she had to cover it with a bandage at her former company.

Additionally, according to some legal professionals, a group of people still think tattoos have no place in the legal industry. However, most legal practitioners have unequivocally said that their tattoos have no impact on their capacity to practice law, own a company, or engage in any other activity. But not everyone agrees with them.

What Are the Risks of Having Tattoos and Piercings as a Lawyer?

Some of the Risks of Having Tattoos and Piercings as a Lawyer include the following:


Tattoos continue to carry a stigma, especially among conventional professions like law. There is still a chance that attorneys and other professionals who want to express themselves via body art will have to defend their choices. Compared to their competitors who are not tattooed, they must struggle harder to maintain their position in the business.

Skin ailments.

Following a tattoo, a skin infection is likely. Around tattoo ink, a granuloma, an area of irritation, may also develop sometimes. Keloids may develop after getting a tattoo. These elevated patches are the result of an excessive amount of scar tissue.

Blood-borne ailments

Blood-borne illnesses may be acquired if the tools used to make your tattoo are contaminated with infectious blood. 

How to Exercise Professional Judgment About Body Art

Employers can prohibit conspicuous body art as long as a rule is enforced for all personnel doing comparable tasks. This is also true if any exclusions would provide respect for religious views.

That being said, almost anybody can bring a case. Consider creating a relaxed policy because you could have to pay to defend it in court one day.

The day when only bikers and sailors had tattoos is long gone. Today, a sizable portion of Americans own at least one piece of tattoo art.

A nurse shouldn’t, for example, wear a tattoo of a blood-dripping blade on the back of his hand, as those who deal with children may be required to hide such tattoos.

Examples of Lawyers with Tattoos, Piercings, and Body Art

Some Examples of Lawyers in this regard include:

Maria Jose Cristerna

Professionally known as The Vampire Woman or, as she chooses, The Jaguar Woman, Maria José Cristerna Méndez is an attorney, entrepreneur, activist, and tattoo artist. Cristerna is well known for the substantial physical alterations she had as a form of advocacy against domestic abuse.

She has 96% of her skin covered in tattoos, making her the most inked lady in the world, according to Guinness World Records. She is also one of the most well-known personalities in tattoo art.

Travis Williams

Travis Williams has a strong sense of purpose in his career as a lawyer. Every time he loses a case, the public defender from Georgia is still dedicated to becoming an advocate. He inks his back with the name of his customer as a result.

He claims that the ink is a physical reminder of his vow to remember everything. In 25 criminal jury trials, he has recorded eight defeats on his back.

Expert Advice

Who can fault people for thinking that attorneys are conservative experts? Attorneys are often seen with a briefcase full of significant papers while dressed in suits. However, ink is often covered by the suit jacket’s sleeves. The legal profession is growing more easily with tattoos in the same way as other industries.

In the past, attorneys had tattoos, but prior generations thought they were unprofessional and obtrusive. However, things are evolving quickly. Due to the millennial era’s increased influence in the legal profession, tattoos are becoming increasingly popular among attorneys.

Tattoos are a kind of art that express a person’s individuality and are not detrimental to one’s work productivity. Even if tattoos are increasingly widely recognized, a lawyer should consider some aspects before making a reservation for a tattoo.


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