Before a member of the Women's Committee at law firm Clifford Chance emailed a list of "Presentation Tips for Women" to the company's female employees, she probably should have considered how they might be received.
Website Above The Law received the five-page document from one of the email's recipients, who told the publication:
[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. We have never been a very female friendly firm, but this is beyond the pale.
While some of the tips in the email such as "define all acronyms" and "don't pace" seem like helpful advice for anyone giving a presentation (certainly not just women), other points are downright ridiculous. Here are seven of the most condescending ones:
- "Your friends will still like you afterwards, even if you adopt a formal tone."
- "No one heard Hillary the day she showed cleavage."
- "Practice hard words."
- "Pretend you're in moot court, not the high school cafeteria"
- "Think Lauren Bacall, not Marilyn Monroe."
- "Don't giggle."
- "Wear a suit, not your party outfit."
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.
Because unintentionally offending people is totally fine? How very lawyerly of them.
View the full memo here.