Dating a lawyer might seem to be your life’s work – both in getting one, and then keeping her/him – but let’s first do the prep. Lawyers, good ones at least, believe greatly in preparation and in order to date a lawyer successfully you need to know some home truths.
If you can get past these then you’re right – if not, move on to the doctors (another set of issues).
But here are some of the keys to dating a lawyer – tips that will leave you prepared for the best and worst that lawyer-dating can lead to.
Lawyer dating plays by a different set of rules. You need to know that.
Let us know what you think or want to advise should be added. We really want to know.
Now the “Dirty Dozen” lawyer dating tips –
1. They Often have student debts
Sure they might earn good money and have all the pizzazz and chutzpah you like, but like ordinary mortals they can come out with eye-bleeding student debt.
If you move in it’s likely to be a cheap attic studio with loan repayments that makes you think you could be living in the Hamptons. The debt is a killer. All of which means you have a noisy partner who wants you to pay when you go out. Just saying.
2. You’re Going With a Workaholic
It’s not necessarily that lawyers love their work, it’s just that the law is a demanding mistress.
You’ll always be one of three in the relationship. And the law will probably come first. Work, work, work – case, case, case. It’s the way of the legal world. That’s the nature of dating lawyers. Sorry.
3. They Can Be Ferociously Ambitious
Understand one thing about lawyers – they are governed by the billable hour, as much as they might want to deny that fact (unless they work for the government, of course). If they are intent on making partner then they will be governed by a multiple of the billable hours they have been ‘allocated’.
This means several things so far as lawyer dating rules are concerned, including cancelled dinner dates, stressful nights (and days, for that matter). There will be plenty of cancelled dates, too.
Key Lawyer Dating Tip: Quiz them on professional plans
4. They Stress-Out
Being a lawyer is stressful and dating one can be twice as stressful – there is a tendency to have major bouts of stress-testing as a result of pressure and the endless routine of time-recorded deadlines. So be aware that when they break out they can be nasty.
Another lawyer dating ‘downside’.
Key Lawyer Dating Tip: Stress-test before continuing
5. They Have Egos
Regrettably the average lawyer is also a person of intense self interest and competitiveness. They are frequently, but by no means exclusively, Type A personalities. They talk shop constantly and talk themselves up about cases, deals, fees and everything else there is to discuss in Big (or Little) Law. It’s what dating lawyers is going to be about, largely.
After all, they’re constantly competitive – with each other and for the trophy client – so looking for a partner is simply something that plays second fiddle to the person at center stage – them!
Your Requirement: Understanding & patience
6. They Can Use You
Whether you’re male or female, lawyers dating you can ‘use’ you in the sense that they can adopt a trophy partner to impress the real partners back at the office and to have something more attractive than a great fee note.
Just be aware of what the true reasons are for their dating you and understand whether it’s genuine or some show-pony exercise designed to impress their cohort and firm.
Key Lawyer Dating Tip: Work out whether your lawyer is genuine.
7. They Can Behave Inappropriately
You will be dealing with someone driven by the requirements of their client, their case, their senior partner.
Just when you thought you might relax you will find you’re with a stress merchant who may be able to keep their stress under control, or they may let loose with an abandon that can be rude, abrasive even downright scary.
You can forgive and forget . . or you can tell them its damn well unacceptable and move on to a doctor.
Your Requirement: Understanding – and flexibility.
8. Arguing with a Lawyer is Impossible
Remember they’re trained to argue – in the same way catwalk models don’t smile and parking wardens don’t look you in the eye. It’s just the way they are.
But while having the occasion argument is all fine, lawyers will cross examine you and declare your argument inadmissible. Sorry, it’s not even debatable, it’s just a fact. They’re trained to be ‘right’, even when they’re not.
You need to learn how to agree to disagree and to ‘park’ disagreements rather than simply folding. A key lawyer dating tip.
Key Lawyer Dating Tip: Be ready with a ‘parking’ tactic.
9. You Have To Learn The Legal Blah Blah
There will be lots of talk with legal acronyms and latin tags. Depending on what side of the Atlantic or the Pacific you’re on there will be the ABA, the LLM, LPC, BPTC and of course the EU and the SC. There will be references to major cases and jurists. You may even draw the “learned friend” jibe, said through the corner of their mouth or otherwise.
Key Lawyer Dating Tip: Tell them to quit the legal theatrics and speak English (assuming they do, of course).
10. The Rule of the Diary
Lawyers can become enslaved to their diaries and work deadlines. You need to understand that and realize that they will jump when the partner/client says so.
Lawyers put their work first. No matter how long you’ve been dating, the strong feeling of ‘they just don’t care about me’ is hard to shake. You’ll definitely always be the second most important ‘partner’ in their life and the diary and its commitments will take precedence.
The schedule and diary can drive you mad, but understand that it’s there and deal with it.
Key Lawyer Dating Tip: Minimize diary interventions
11. Embrace Your Own Job
Lawyers aren’t the most important people on the planet. You count too, so make sure you embrace your own job and without entering a “I’m more important than you!” debate, you should show that you have things to do, places to go also.
Make them wait and train them that the known universe does not revolve around them and their job. Whatever you do, do not reduce your job into a second-rate position.
Key Lawyer Dating Tip: Embrace your own job and life.
12 . You Have to Deal With Law Firm Functions
You’ll be expected to attend various law firm functions that will see enormous pressure on the need to impress. You may be treated as one of the tickets to partnership in the sense that you have the good sense to date someone impressive, smart and attractive.
Be ready for the stress that comes from that window-dressing too because your lawyer may be using you as the stepping stone that makes you second best and forever relegated to a footnote in their beautiful career.
A lawyer dating tip that you’ve been warned about. Take care.
Key Lawyer Dating Tip: Don’t become second best to your lawyer.
So there they are. Our key ‘dating lawyer’ tips. Go for the lawyers if you must – but take care out there. They can be difficult critters at the best of times.