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Law firms

Posted by Bob on May 27, 2000

In Reply to: Law firms posted by ESC on May 27, 2000

: 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.