Now in Legal Rebels:
Posted Mar 17, 2010 05:14 pm CDT
Updated: Early on in her tenure at Cahill Gordon & Reindel, Kat Griffin remembers picking up a Diane Von Furstenberg dress that she’d seen on Gilmore Girls. She thought it would be totally acceptable for work.
“But then I remember looking down in the middle of a meeting and realizing I could see my entire bra—and realizing everyone else could also,” Griffin told the ABA Journal. She said she stuffed a scarf in her neckline for an emergency fix.
Griffin, now a staff attorney at the Media Law Resource Center, has come a long way since then: Her blog, Corporette, which offers advice on women’s fashion in BigLaw and corporate environments, gets 35,000 hits a day. She started posting there as a fifth-year associate at Cahill in May 2008 and did so anonymously until today, when she revealed her identity in a Corporette post.
Griffin’s undergraduate degree is in journalism, and she worked at Family Circle before graduating cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center and starting at Cahill, according to her LinkedIn profile. Once she got to Cahill, she faced the challenge of adapting her personal style to a conservative workplace.
“Around the time that I was a fifth-year litigator at my firm I realized, NO ONE is giving out this advice, and everyone is struggling to learn the same fairly basic lessons (if they even realize that said lessons needed to be learned in the first place),” Griffin wrote on Corporette. “So I started the blog.”
And it caught on. Last year, U.S. District Judge Joan Lefkow of Chicago suggested that women litigators take a look at Corporette when she spoke on a Seventh Circuit Bar Association panel. The discussion had turned to how women litigators dressed for court.
Griffin told Above the Law that she wasn’t an entirely anonymous blogger, and that she in fact put Corporette on her resumé when applying to the Media Law Resource Center, where she has been working since July after being laid off from Cahill. “When I interviewed with the chairman of the MLRC board, we ended up talking about pantyhose polls,” she said.
Griffin says she’s still trying to find her fashion footing now that she’s moved from BigLaw to the nonprofit world. “My jewelry choices have gotten more bold,” she says. And obviously, her definition of a reasonable fashion budget has adjusted since leaving BigLaw. But Griffin says she’s a “good Midwestern girl” who’s always been a sales shopper anyway, so she’s managing on her new nonprofit salary.
However, Griffin’s big reveal was actually prompted by Corporette-related professional opportunities. She is partnering with InStyle magazine and AK Anne Klein for a series of fashion events in April and May in Miami, Kentucky, Minnesota and New Jersey in which she will “advise on fashion trends and ways to adapt looks for different situations,” according to a press release (PDF).
Updated at 2:25 p.m. to include comments from Griffin.