Elements of Style

Law is Back in Fashion

A conversation with Sammy Ford IV, trial lawyer

Photography by Felix Sanchez By Katie McNew April 7, 2014 Published in the April 2014 issue of Houstonia Magazine

Sammy Ford IV. Click to enlarge.

The assignment: interview Sammy Ford IV, a well-known, Houston-born trial lawyer with, we can all agree, a killer name for Texas lawyering. This led, naturally, to visions of an eccentric Texas version of Denny Crane—shiny suits with shinier boots, and probably a black felt cowboy hat. Oh, and please let him wear a bolo tie. Please let him wear a bolo tie. Please let him wear a bolo tie.… He does not. Which, we suppose, is wise. (Sigh.)

Simply put, Sammy is, to quote another well-known Houstonian, a sharp-dressed man. When you think of his style, think Savile Row. Except modern. And American. It’s all about quality for this Harvard grad, who also happens to be a big foodie and longtime CrossFitter (before it was cool, thankyouverymuch). 


Brooks Brothers coat, Nudie jeans, Lucchese boots, Golf glasses, Calvin Klein belt, custom-made shirt.

So, you’re actually from Houston? 

I am, like, Houston, Houston (with a chuckle).

What does that mean for your style?

Well, I went to various Catholic schools growing up, and then at St. Thomas [High School] I wore khakis and button-downs or polos every day. I’ve never been anti–dressing up, but the idea of casual clothes being something that you’re supposed to put some thought into really took off in college.

How so?

I went up north for college, and it got cold really quickly. Folks had Burberry scarves and North Face fleeces and things like that, and that was kind of my first exposure to people who got dressed up on a daily basis. 

You see swanky lawyers on Boston Legal and the like, but what are fashionable lawyers wearing in real life?

It’s not necessarily stylish in the traditional sense, as in trying to make a statement for the world to see. I think attorneys come in all shapes and sizes, just like everyone else. A lot of firms have gone pretty casual. But whatever it is that you’re wearing, you don’t have to be frumpy. That’s probably not the right word. You don’t have to not care about it. You can put thought into it. It can just be a commitment to quality.

Any courtroom fashion rituals?

I try to do a couple of things. I like to get a new tie before each trial. I just about always wear some pair of cuff links for the first day as well. That’s kind of my tradition. Also, a few years ago my mom got me, for Christmas, a nice briefcase. I usually use that as well. 

Do you have a favorite Designer for that new-tie tradition?

The majority of mine are Ferragamo or Hermès, but, to be honest, that’s just the way things have happened. I prefer a thinner tie, not a lot of backing. I’ll buy anything that looks great.

What do you do when not lawyering?

You know, I am a once and future CrossFitter. I’m really surprised by how big it has gotten. When I joined, I think there were two CrossFit gyms inside the loop, or really in Houston. And now there’s one on every street. 

I also, for the first time in probably, gosh, since I was 15 or so, got a bike. I’m not one of the people you see who are doing 50 miles on the weekend, but Houston is great. There’s been such a focus on all these bike trails, so now I find myself on the weekends, if the weather is nice, riding into the office or various places in the Museum District and Montrose and downtown. You can get just about anywhere. 

Will you divulge your tailor? 

Saigon Tailors. Tell them Sammy sent you.

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