Posted Date: December 1, 2015

Beauty gurus in law

“Become your own beauty guru” is the name of the most recent networking event recently held for young female lawyers in Toronto by Young Women in Law.  Attendees picked up valuable tips and tricks on how to present themselves in their professional lives. Anastasiya Jogal reports. 


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+40 # Male lawyerAndrew M 2015-12-08 15:05
Having watched this informative and very helpful tip for young lawyers, I am puzzled as to why things are so different for me. Nobody has ever commented on my lack of makeup, or on my bad hair days, so long as I do a good job with my work. Come to think of it, I have grown a beard and nobody seems to mind.

I shall canvass this mystery with my male colleagues and report back.
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+28 # LawyerEmbarrassed M 2015-12-08 14:20
I am a lawyer in the early stages of practice in Toronto. Like many others, I am interested in makeup and fashion and do my best to look professional and polished. However, I go shopping on my own time. I am appalled that an organization with a goal of advancing women in the legal profession would organize an event such as this one. It perpetuates negative stereotypes and it is reductive and embarrassing. Networking events are wonderful, but there is no need to have them in a makeup department.
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+19 # DeflatingAlix L 2015-12-08 14:14
This article and the event it covers completely deflated me. Really took the wind out of my sails as I sit at the library (female, un-made up) studying for finals in my last year of U of T law.
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+40 # Unbelievable.Emma C 2015-12-08 13:33
Reading the rest of this comment section, I hope that Canadian Lawyer and YWL have some understanding of why this content is inappropriate. However, in case both organizations are as out-of-it as this article makes it seem, here are a few key points:
1) Being a good lawyer and being professional has nothing to do with how much (or little) make-up I choose to wear.
2) Associating strict beauty regimens with how comfortable a woman should be in public perpetuates negative body image and is generally disparaging.
3) I do not need to have flawless looking skin to "show that we are serious, that we can do a good job." We do that the same way men do: through having a good substantive grasp of the law and developing people skills.
4) Stating that too much or too little make-up "is sort of a negative thing" causes women to second guess whether the way they present themselves on any given day is "appropriate". And quite frankly, I have better things to worry about.
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+28 # Unacceptable in 2015Alex P 2015-12-08 12:27
Canadian Lawyer should seriously consider taking this post down or publish some kind of response to the comments. This piece is blatantly sexist and I honestly can't believe that this was thought fit to publish in 2015. What kind of message is this sending to young women in law? Or to women full stop?
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+47 # Thanks!Sarah R 2015-12-08 11:13
I did not know how confused I was about the meaning of 'professionalism' and 'comfortable', so this was very helpful. I had been focusing mainly on my competency and skills in order to succeed, as my male colleagues do, but I see now that was also an error. I had not realized that if I were to encounter a client and part of the actual skin on my face were visible to them all my years of learning and training would be wasted. This is important information that will contribute to my success and so I am glad it was featured in our professional publication.
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+27 # Nope. Not Having It.Lioness Hutz 2015-12-08 10:26
And here I thought that “presenting myself professionally” was a firm handshake, confidence, and leaving my potty-mouth at the door. Like a dummy I was under the false impression that my intelligence and my ability to analyze complex situations was my key to success as a lawyer. Thank god I watched this video to set me straight! Now with these newfound skills I’m better situated to mind myself a husband, errr, I mean new clients.
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+16 # Barrister & SolicitorGina P. 2015-12-08 10:04
As a seasoned female lawyer and practitioner, I appreciate the importance of 'good' physical presentation as a professional. I was recently disappointed when appearing in Superior Court to find opposing counsel dressed in a manner that was better suited for a night out on the town and neither conveyed professionalism nor respect for the court. It demeans the profession and its members. Having said that, presentation is equally as important for male members of the bar and I find this event targeting women and cosmetics misguided and disappointing. It is evidence of how far our society has yet to go in addressing gender inequality and the discrepancy in values imposed between the sexes. Very disappointing.
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+27 # Young woman in lawYoung Woman in Law 2015-12-08 07:49
I wonder if the "Young Women in Law" appreciate the irony that events like these do more to facilitate the issues young women face in the legal profession than alleviate them. As young women in law, we should all be working together to make the legal profession more inclusive and supportive for women lawyers regardless of things like "face time" and the time I spend on my face. The idea that women need to look a certain way to be successful lawyers already functions as a barrier for certain women in the profession, and at the very least, is another reason for us to feel that we don't measure up.

Also, less is not more ladies. Don't ever reduce yourself to make others feel more comfortable in your presence.
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+34 # Horrible Message to SendLADY LAWYER 2015-12-07 19:11
This video is horrifying. The fact that a group targeting young female lawyers put on an event whose message is that women have to conform to gendered norms of beauty (you either have to have flawless skin or don't be cheap and buy some expensive foundation to cover up) to be taken seriously in law is very upsetting. It's one thing to recommend appropriate work dress and quite another to suggest that if you don't know how to apply a full face of make-up (natural looking or otherwise) and don't spend a fortune on skincare, that you cannot be valued in the workplace for your intelligence and work ethic. This mentality reinforces harmful societal norms and should definitely not be being promoted by a women's group.
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+29 # DisappointingA. Smith 2015-12-07 18:55
This is sexist and offensive. I am surprised both that Young Women In Law would hold such an event, and that Canadian Lawyer would report on it in an uncritical way.
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+23 # Well this is...somethingWhat an Embarrassmen 2015-12-07 18:33
I too had hoped this was a joke. The message that professionalism for young woman is captured by clothes and a make-up routine is so blantantly sexist that this whole segment would be laughable if it weren't being presented as legitimate commentary. What an epic fail.
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+16 # Too FunnyAlex B 2015-12-07 18:09
The line "But what the professors often don't teach young lawyers, is how to present themselves," may be the best unintentional humour I've seen yet this month.
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+19 # lawyerJ. Petryshen 2015-12-07 18:00
I had hoped that perhaps this was satire - The Beaverton, maybe? But alas, it appears that the biggest challenge facing us ladies is having facial "imperfections". Nothing two facials a week can't fix, apparently. While dressing professionally is obviously important, this is so obviously sexist it's painful.
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+20 # Great to KnowAmanda Hart-Dowhun 2015-12-07 17:44
It's so nice to see that legal groups for young women are teaching them that they must conform to sexist legal standards to succeed in this profession. I could not help but notice that there do not appear to be any similar events for male lawyers. I wonder why.
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+25 # become your own beauty gurupatricia l. 2015-12-07 17:20
I wish someone had advised me that "beauty" was a prerequisite to becoming a good lawyer when I began practicing 38 years ago.
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+22 # lawyerMaria B. 2015-12-07 16:50
I am surprised a lawyer's women's group would host this type of event. Do male lawyer's take courses on such things?
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+10 # Young female !!!!Sophie R. 2015-12-07 16:58
I guess that young man do not have to look profesionnal???? They have a face too!!!
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