A white shoe firm is a leading professional services firm that has been around for a very long time – and represents a lot of elite companies. The term is more commonly used in the United States than in the other countries. In most cases, it is a law, accounting, banking, brokerage, or management consulting firm. The term is believed to have originated in an early preppy style, white buck Oxford shoes. These were popular among students at Yale University and other Ivy League colleges during the 1950s. Presumably, these impeccably dressed students from elite schools were sure to land jobs at prestigious firms once they graduated.