Can a Beard Spoil a Promising Legal Career?

by Lilly on March 27, 2013

The job of a lawyer is all about trustworthiness, or at least looking trustworthy, so appearance is not a factor to be neglected. A sector where hundreds compete for any well-paying job, making the first impression can be absolutely crucial. So what about the beard? Is it going to hold you back? Should you just forget any kind of facial hair when going to a job interview to a big firm?

There are several hot debates online on the topic (see here or here), but opinions are surprisingly diverse. From the guy who thinks he was hired so that the boss has someone to speak to about beards to those dismissed as slovenly just because they’ve grown a slight stubble while waiting for the interview, there are lots of people with lots of different opinions. There are some undeniable facts though which well worth a mention.

The time of emperors is gone

Few of the most spectacular beards are named after the emperors of the 19th century, such as the „Franz Joseph” or the „Napoleon III imperial”. Sadly, nowadays they are only worthy companions on a metal gig, and should never be considered as acceptable in any kind of career, especially not on one that is so dependent upon appearance as a lawyer’s. It’s not advised to wear any kind of styled facial hair (including the moustache) but the natural-looking beard, because it immediately becomes your determining feature and they either transmit lack of ambition or ostentation and vanity.

No grains in manes

There is an aspect that more than surely destroys your chances as a lawyer, and that is being untidy in any way, but especially concerning your beard. Some people question the fact that a beard is any different to hair saying it only needs washing once in a while, but if you’ve ever seen a bearded man drinking, you know that this is not the case. Frequently finding surprises in your beard, such as cheetos or the papers of yesteryear will always destroy your chances in a legal career, no matter how low you aim. It is vital therefore to keep in mind that any kind of facial hair is not something you wear in order to save time – a neat and tidy beard requires just as much if not more time as shaving every morning. Trimming, sculpturing, and combing are part of the process, and neglecting it will quickly result in „don’t have any change” responses when you try to ask the way to the nearest ATM. So don’t forget to always wear facial hair as an ornament, and not as an obtrusive sign of laziness.

Beard brothers

The question of whether the beard ruins the chances of a (legal) career is an eternal one. There will always be well-paid bearded lawyers as well as perpetually unemployed ones, but there are undeniable rules well worth a mention, and an important one is the so-called „beard factor”.

If you wear a beard and you’re reluctant to shave it off before the interview, check the website of your potential employer for any pictures of the directorate. The immediate mutual respect between two men with impressive beards is so strong that candidates described job interviews with fellow beardos as a formality, swapping stories and observations about each other’s facial hair. It can be true from the other way around as well though, a man who doesn’t have the genes to grow a real beard might feel inferior in the company of a beardyman. So next time when you’re checking your potential employer’s website, don’t only concentrate on learning the clichés in their description, take your time to check the portraits of the executives as well.

Beard or not to beard

There are definitely people who don’t want to employ bearded man, just as there are people who don’t want to employ ginger ones. But most of them only pay attention to qualities, and they will not dismiss any candidate for having a neat, well-kept beard. If you’re uncertain over wearing one, you might just want to shave it completely off. But wear it with pride, trim it, sculpture it, carve it and you might even win the most stubborn anti-beardos over.

This is a guest post by contributing author Lilly Sheperd for The Art of Shaving. If you really care about your appearance and want to take shaving to a next level check out their Straight Razor selection.



I'm Lilly Sheperd, an occasional guest-blogger and a full time freelance communication consultant. When not blogging, I like to travel and read a lot, especially about education and law.

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