Lawyers are seen as conservative professionals by many people, and who can blame them? Most of the time, lawyers are spotted wearing suits and carrying a briefcase full of important documents. However, many lawyers are hiding ink under their suit sleeves. As other professional fields are becoming more accepting of tattoos, the legal field is too.
Previous generations frowned upon lawyers having tattoos, seeing them as unprofessional and distracting. However, times are quickly changing. As millennials hold higher positions of power in the legal field, tattoos are becoming more accepted for lawyers to have. Tattoos do not affect their job performance and are a form of art that tells a person’s story and shows individuality. Even though tattoos are more accepted, there are still some things that a lawyer must consider before booking a tattoo appointment.
Are you a lawyer wondering if you can get a tattoo? Or considering law as a profession? If so, read on to learn what tattoos are acceptable, where you can have tattoos at, if your ink always has to be covered, hiring potential with tattoos, and how many lawyers already have tattoos.
What Tattoos Can Lawyers Have?
When choosing a tattoo, lawyers should steer clear of anything offensive to most people. Even if it can be covered by a suit, offensive tattoos are something that is frowned upon in all job settings. Plus, with law being one of the most professional settings to work in, it is crucial that you don’t have any tattoos that would hamper your image
An offensive tattoo will negatively affect a lawyer’s image as a professional. Even if the tattoo can be covered, if it were to be discovered by a client or a coworker, it could ruin their career. The client may post about their lawyer’s poor tattoo choice on social media, steering potential clients away from hiring them. A coworker spotting their questionable tattoo might even cost them their job. If deeply offended by the tattoo, the coworker could file a complaint to their boss stating that they are uncomfortable working with someone willing to display things like that on their body. Assuming that the boss was unaware of the tattoo in the first place, the lawyer can kiss their position good-bye as well as a positive referral when looking for other employment.
If you are a lawyer and are considering getting something that others will view as offensive, stop and think about how it would impact your career in the future. Is an offensive tattoo something worth losing your hard-earned job over? Three years of law school, the bar exam, and internships will have all been for nothing if people discover your tattoo.
Where Can Lawyers Have Tattoos at?
Lawyers should have tattoos anywhere that can easily be covered up by clothing. Meaning, they should avoid getting tattoos on their face, neck, or hands if they want any chance of being hired. Lawyers still have a professional image to maintain in most people’s eyes, even if tattoos are becoming more acceptable.
Many lawyers still see visible tattoos as unacceptable in the firm that they work for. Legal Cheek’s poll reveals that 60% of lawyers still believe that visible tattoos are unprofessional. However, this doesn’t mean that a lawyer can’t have any tattoos at all. Tattoos that are covered by work clothes are acceptable. Everyone in the legal world wears long sleeves all the time anyway, making it very easy to cover up almost any tattoo.
As long as a lawyer’s tattoos can be hidden by professional wear, having some ink will not harm your career. Most firms don’t care if their employees have tattoos as long as they can still maintain a professional appearance while on the job.
Do a Lawyer’s Tattoos Always Have to be Covered?
It’s clear that lawyers can only have tattoos that can be covered up by professional attire. But, do the tattoos have to be covered at all times? Law firms are still highly conservative workplaces, despite most individuals believing that it’s okay for lawyers to have tattoos. Even if the tattoo is small and inoffensive it should still be able to be covered otherwise, they may be viewed as unprofessional individuals.
The most crucial time for a lawyer to cover-up their tattoos is when they are appearing in court. The court is the most conservative setting that lawyers work in, they are expected to appear as professional as possible in front of the judge and jury. With a visible tattoo, the judge and jury may hold a bias against the lawyer and not take them seriously. Tattoos are seen as harmless but having one visible in court can cause you to lose the case depending on the views of the judge and jury.
Client meetings are also a place where a lawyer should have their tattoos covered. The client may see the lawyer as unprofessional if they have tattoos that are visible meaning, they are less likely to follow their legal advice.
Getting a tattoo on your finger may seem like a good idea at the time but, if you plan on going into a field as professional as law you may want to think twice. You would be better off getting that tattoo you’ve always wanted somewhere that it can be hidden easily, especially if you plan on being a lawyer that has to appear in court.
Will Tattoos Reduce a Lawyer’s Hiring Potential?
Clients look upon lawyers as professionals who should maintain a respectable appearance. With that being said, most clients do not mind if their lawyer has tattoos as long as their work performance isn’t hampered. There are still some clients, however, that are uncomfortable with their lawyer having tattoos. These clients view tattoos as unprofessional and a sign that a lawyer may have poor judgment or make rash decisions that could impact their work. They still see the legal system as a highly conservative environment, and lawyers still have a professional image to maintain. However, these clients shouldn’t be an issue as long as the lawyer’s tattoos are covered whenever they meet with their clients.
Many law firms are also indifferent to their employees having tattoos, again, as long as they’re covered up, they won’t be an issue when being hired. Some lawyers who don’t have to appear in court for their job are now have uncovered tattoos. Regardless, there are still some old-school attorneys that view tattoos as unprofessional, but they are becoming few and far in between and many are even warming up to the idea of lawyers having tattoos. So, if you’re considering getting a tattoo and are worried about whether or not a firm will still be willing to hire you, just make sure that the tattoo can be covered easily
Times are quickly changing, in the past, an aspiring lawyer would have no shot at making it in law if they had any tattoos. Today, as long as a lawyer can do their job and maintain a professional appearance, their tattoos will not affect their hiring potential. Even so, lawyers should still be cautious and make sure that they can cover up their tattoos for court appearances and client meetings.
How Many Lawyers Have Tattoos?
A study conducted by the University of Minnesota revealed that 45% of law students have at least one tattoo by their graduation. This is a much higher percentage than students in other conservative fields of study with almost no business majors getting tattoos and only 9% of female and 20% of male pre-med students having tattoos.
The percentage of individuals in the legal field with tattoos is more than double that of other professional fields. Many just can’t see the tattoos that lawyers have because they have them in places where they can be hidden by professional clothing.
Conclusion – Can Lawyers Have Tattoos
Tattoos are becoming more common nowadays. Many people would steer clear of getting any tattoo if they had plans of entering a professional field, including law. However, more than 36% of individuals aged 18-25 have tattoos now, which is quite a large chunk of young professionals.
Law firms must keep up with the times and realize that the generation entering the workforce is not as conservative as the previous. Millennials do not view tattoos as an obstruction to an individual’s professionalism, they’re simply viewed as a form of self-expression. As millennials are rising to the top of the legal ladder, they’re making it more acceptable for lawyers to have ink. So, lawyers can get that tattoo that they’ve always been too scared to get as long as it’s not offensive and can be covered up.
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Kaila Ohsowski was born and raised right outside of Detroit, Michigan, as a young adult she decided to move to Chicago to pursue an education. She is now a student at Loyola University Chicago studying Pre-Law and Criminal Justice. She even received the Dean’s Scholarship upon entrance into Loyola for her outstanding academic performance. As an aspiring criminal defense attorney, she hopes to help those who are wrongfully accused within the criminal justice system. Kaila has always been an outstanding writer and has received praise for her writing skills from many of her instructors. In her free time, she loves to unwind with friends and family, and listen to music.