Devolution opportunity for lawyers

A DEVON firm has introduced uniforms for all female staff apart from legal executives and solicitors.

Peter Reade, the managing partner at Kitsons, in Newton Abbot, said the uniforms were introduced for secretaries and support staff because “banks and building societies have found that the public prefer the person from whom they are seeking advice to be wearing a suit”.

A similar policy would not be introduced for men because “they all dress in suits and ties and you could say that is a uniform anyway,” he added.

The navy and white dog-tooth jacket and navy skirt were introduced at the women's request after a suggestion by commercial litigation secretary Carol Smith. Kitsons has indicated that it may make the uniforms compulsory.

Reception staff, but not secretarial staff, wear uniforms at City firms Clifford Chance, Denton Hall and Stephenson Harwood, but the trend is towards allowing tailored trousers, said Ann Germing, business development officer at legal recruitment agency ASA Law.

Reade said that opposition to the uniform had been caused by differences of opinion on style and colour not lack of individuality, and the women believed it made them look smart and business-like.