By: Jennifer Smith
February 23rd, 2012
The Wall Street Journal
New York real estate lawyer Adam Leitman Bailey may be best known around town for suing condo developers and defending Park51’s right to build a Muslim community center and mosque two blocks from the site of the former World Trade Center.
But he also offers an unusual perk for new associates at Adam Leitman Bailey P.C.: a suit from Brooks Brothers or Saks Fifth Avenue. Plus a tie and shoes. Don’t forget the tie. More on that later.
“Vladimir has broad shoulders, so he was easy,” Bailey told Law Blog on Thursday, during a speakerphone call with be-suited associates Vladimir Mironenko and Donald Mitchell.
“Now Donald here, we went to Saks,” Bailey said. “Donald’s very skinny, so the Brooks Brothers big shoulders suit didn’t work. So we went to Saks and got him a Ralph Lauren.”
This sartorial extra came to Law Blog’s attention via a press release flogging the indefatiguable Mr. Bailey’s virtues as a boss: he lures in junior lawyers with signing bonuses, profit-sharing, in-office massages, tickets to sporting events, free kale chips and Greek yogurt, etc.
All that may provoke yawns from jaded Biglaw veterans accustomed to marble hallways and sweeping city views.
Still, Law Blog has never had an employer offer to buy us a suit.
The point, Bailey said, is to make sure his young litigators put their best foot forward in court.
“We’re dressing as good as everybody else,” he said. “It’s not about looking flashy, it’s about being credible. Persuasive colors—we don’t wear striped shirts, only white or blue.”
Thus far the firm has shelled out for 10 suits, each running upward of $1,000, once you factor in the accessories, Bailey said.
Back in 2000 when he founded the firm, female associates posed a conundrum. “We would buy their husbands or fiancés suits and give them money,” he said. “We didn’t feel it was appropriate to take them shopping, because I would see the guys in their boxer suits. Now we have 26 attorneys, 24 full-time, and we have the female lawyers take them out.”
We asked Mironenko what he was rocking at the office before his transformative trip to Brooks Brothers with the sartorial Svengali.
“Men’s Wearhouse, $200 suits,” he said. “Adam doesn’t just buy us a suit, he teaches us how to wear it, how to pick out a suit, how to tie the tie, how to wear the suit… So that for the future we can do it ourselves.”
Ten minutes after Law Blog hung up the phone, we received this email from Bailey:
“Forgot to mention that we buy ties for the attorneys throughout the year. We are very specific in brand and how it should look. Clean ties. Blue and maroon and red are the most persuasive. At holidays, all of the employees in the firm get another tie as well in addition to their bonuses.”