Posted by Lewis on June 27, 2005
In Reply to: White shoe law firm posted by ESC on June 25, 2005
: : Can anyone tell me what the derivation is for the term "White shoe law firm"?
: Here is what was determined during a previous discussion (thanks to Bob):
: : : A long while back someone asked the origin and meaning of "white shoe law firm." Then I read the term "silk stocking law firm." Does anyone know or have a guess about these two terms? Just curious.
: : "White Shoe bond salesman" was a '70s-era sneering comment applied to ethically-dubious fast-talking financial manipulators. The term came from the clothing of the time, when hip young men wore (among other monstrosities) white shoes. (Combining white shoes with a white belt was a "full Cleveland.") The term (signifying sleazy business practices) has outlived the fashions. Similarly, "silk-stocking" has had a long life, enduring long after the garment's popularity. John Lindsay, the mayor of New York some 40 years ago, was a patrician who had previously served as a congressman from what was known as the "silk stocking district" in Manhattan, populated by high-income movers and shakers. I'm sure the term is older than that, but it implies Old Money.
: Mystery solved! Thanks. Full-Cleveland. I like that.
It is still UK tradition than when Judges and other Law Officers appear during ceremonies, that they wear white silk stockings below breeks/knee breeches.
looks a bit daft really.
QCs (Queen's Counsel) a somewhat self-selecting overpaid group of senior trial lawyers - are called 'silks' - I believe it was because their gowns were silk, not cotton. (Actually most gowns seem to be a mix of cotton and man-made fibre, considering how they 'shine' with long use)
a lawyer being 'silk-stocking' would suggest being of power, influence and money.
like the 'white shoe' notion.