It’s no surprise you might have considered dating a fellow lawyer.
Lawyers are smart, confident, ambitious. They’re also well-educated, motivated, and understand a good legal pun. Plus, you spent three years going through the same experience, wherever they went to law school. And in your current job, they’re all around, working the same crazy schedule as you are. They come with lots of qualities you both respect and possess. Add to that your shared schedule and interests, and it seems like lawyers dating each other should be a match made in lawyer heaven.
And since lawyers tend to socialize with each other, the opportunity to date a legal peer is likely to come up sooner or later. But is dating another lawyer a good idea? While the answer to that question will be different for each person, here are some factors to help you consider whether it might work for you.
You’ll understand each other…
From the pressure of law school to navigating your firm’s politics, being a lawyer can be a world unto itself. Who better to date than someone who’s gone through—and is currently going through—the same things you are? Dating, schmoozing with, and arguing with another lawyer can feel almost too comfortable. They’ll understand your stressors, ambitions, and legal jargon without batting an eye—and they’ll approach conflict with a similarly analytical bend.
The best part? You can bring your work home with you, and know you’ll have a listening ear.
…but you might compete with each other.
And not just in the workplace. Lawyers tend to be single-minded and self-assured, which is a great benefit in the courtroom and a challenge in a relationship. When two lawyers are dating, friendly discussions can quickly turn into competitive battles of the intellect. Competition can also blur the lines between the professional and personal. What will you do if your significant other is more successful, better known, or makes partner before you?
You’ll have similar schedules…
With 100-hour workweeks, it’s no surprise lawyers don’t top the charts of ideal romantic partners. In fact, most non-lawyers will tell you that the toughest part of dating a lawyer is getting used to a partner who’s simply not around. That’s why dating a fellow lawyer can come as a relief—you’ll never need to explain, justify, or apologize for staying late or picking up that phone call on vacation. They’ll understand and respect your commitment to the job and most of the time, they’ll be busy, too. (And if you do work in the same firm or neighborhood, you’ll have plenty of chances for quick lunches and on-the-go chats.)
…but you might never see each other.
But then again, if making a relationship work when one of you is busy four nights a week is difficult, imagine when both of you are battling lawyer schedules. The one evening you manage to get home before dinner? That might be the night she’s at the office ‘til 10. Between late nights, client emergencies, and weekend workdays, your relationship might struggle to find the time to grow. After all, no matter how compatible you might be, nothing feels worse than being in a long-distance relationship with someone who lives nearby.
You’ll share a worldview…
Even outside of the office, lawyers tend to share similar perspectives—a result of law school training and the tendencies that attracted them to law in the first place. You’ll appreciate having conversations with a fellow lawyer, and you’ll know you can respect their intellect and ambition. Seeing eye to eye will strengthen your relationship, and you’ll enjoy having them as your companion to events.
…and that might be a bad thing.
Unfortunately, sharing perspectives might not be great for the legal mind. Law is one of the few careers in which pessimism is rewarded with success. Sharing that pessimism—along with a tendency for over-analysis, high stress, and a generous dose of ambition—can create a feedback cycle of negative sentiment. For many lawyers, being able to come home and “turn the lawyer off” with a more laid-back or optimistic partner is the blessing that helps them get through the rigors of the job.
The verdict: Should you or shouldn’t you? There’s no obvious answer. Whichever you choose, your relationship will benefit if you understand and discuss the lawyer-specific challenges you might face. Remember, no two lawyers are the same—and no two relationships are, either.
Can just about any relationship work with enough effort and flexibility?
While our legal mind might be saying no, our romantic intuition is giving an enthusiast thumbs up.