Clifford Chance Law Firm Suggest Female Associates Don't 'Show Cleavage' or 'Giggle'

| by Khier Casino

A member of Clifford Chance’s Women’s Committee sent a memo via email entitled “Presentation Tips for Women” to all female associates in the United States offices of the law firm.

Above the Law reports the five-page document is causing controversy for some of the advice given to women on the do's and don'ts of how to dress and act during an office presentation, including:

  • “Like” You’ve got to Lose “Um” and “Uh,” “You Know,” “OK,” and “Like.”
  • Think Lauren Bacall, not Marilyn Monroe.
  • Don’t giggle; Don’t squirm; Don’t tilt your head.
  • Practice hard words.
  • Wear a suit, not your party outfit.
  • No one heard Hillary the day she showed cleavage.
  • Use a relaxed, open throat, breathe from the abdomen & keep your mouth open.
  • Watch out for the urinal position.

“[F]emale associates are very upset by not only the elementary nature of the tips themselves, but the suggestion that these would only apply to women,” one of the recipients told Above the Law via email. “We have never been a very female friendly firm, but this is beyond the pale.”

In a statement written to Above the Law, Clifford Chance said: "The original presentation and associated tips represented a personal perspective, shared with a group of colleagues, some just starting out in their careers. The more than 150 points are based on what this individual has found helpful as a public speaker in a broad range of business environments. While much of what is covered is common sense, we believe that it is important that women as well as men are given access to a range of different viewpoints and approaches; there is no Clifford Chance template on how people should present. The offense caused by a small percentage of the suggestions in the tip sheet was entirely unintentional."