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For the first time, Windy City lawyers can wear fall windbreakers to work. Three of Chicago’s top firms — Kirkland & Ellis, Mayer, Brown & Platt and Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal — have decided to maintain a policy of everyday business-casual dress year round. “Many firms tried to put the genie back in the bottle” after the summer, said Kevin Evanich, of Kirkland’s management committee, “but we didn’t think that was the thing to do. Once you’ve given a person a taste of the good life, why take it away?” Kirkland traditionally has not been known as a fashion leader. The firm sanctioned business-casual only midway through the summer, and even as it did, it clearly communicated that it would no longer tolerate the occasional jeans and flip-flops. “For our L.A. office,” one insider said, “going casual meant stepping up their dress.”

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