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Attorneys are aggressive and argumentative.
They are also very busy and difficult to keep plans with.
So knowing this, how can you still be attracted to an attorney?
If you don’t know so by now, you should realize attorneys are a different breed of human. No, they’re not zombies, at least not some of them. Nor are they some throwback pre-human, like for instance, the Neanderthal, though some may question even that.
Nonetheless, attorneys are different. They think differently and at times tend to behave differently. Attorneys are deductive, tend toward the darker sides of issues, and if an attorney is good at…well…being an attorney, they are more than likely doggedly tenacious toward their knowledge and beliefs.
But let us not forget that with all the toughness that calluses beneath their Brooks Brothers’ suit and tie, there still stands a human. The question, however, remains; are they the correct type of person for a long-term relationship?
The fortunate aspect of lawyers is that their personalities are about as apparent as a muzzle on a dog’s face. This means you will get to know rather quickly if any lawyer is worth investing your time, and most importantly, your emotions into.
In fact, there have been people who have learned within a single day if they are or are not lawyer material.
“These (certain) characteristics make great litigators especially, and great lawyers as a profession. But they counter to what works in emotional intimacy and even in good parenting skills.”
The above are words from psychologist Fiona Travis, author of “Should I Marry a Lawyer: A Couple’s Guide to Balancing Work, Love and Ambition,” which can resonate strongly with those who are in relationships with an attorney.
And while there’s quite a bit of distance between being in a relationship with an attorney and marrying that attorney, there is some validity to Travis’ comment. Lawyers do not necessarily make for good mates, while others have experienced the polar opposite.
With that established, instead of arranging the pros and cons of getting involved with a lawyer into a typical (albeit overused) list, this article instead puts a relationship with an attorney into real-world context where a person and their attorney “friend” spend a Sunday together.
So hold on tight as we slide down the legal rabbit hole in pursuit of, or at least to better understand, our prospective lawyer boyfriends and girlfriends.
Sunday brunch can be a bit trying.
Lawyers are direct. When they say they want their eggs scrambled soft, no two ways about it, they better be scrambled soft. This is one aspect of lawyers every prospective mate should know about. Attorneys are demanding. Life, life’s circumstances, and its various scenarios, have to be their way, or it is the highway for any person or issue that stands in a successful, yet demanding attorney’s pathway.
Lawyers, by their very nature, are extremely detail oriented. Their work has to be meticulously completed with every detail accurately showcased and put perfectly in line. Of course, these work traits can spill over into a lawyer’s personal life, where such a meticulous and demanding attitude can have a strong effect on anyone who is close to this lawyer.
Attorneys are very Type A
So brunch is over, and one of your Sunday plans is to check out this month’s swap meet at the nearby Rose Bowl. And yet, riding in your lawyer friend’s gleaming high-five figure German sedan quickly becomes a needling, if not annoying scenario in which you can crack the passenger’s side window only so low, adjust the seat only so far back, and turn up the stereo only so high when you hear a song that you like.
This can explain the attorneys much talked about and very little revered (except in a law firm) Type-A personality. For an attorney, everything has to be planned out, and when it’s not, such as you two getting a bit lost on the way to the swap meet, the conflict of trying to get back on track can mount with anger, disappointment or bewilderment.
Lawyers Don’t Think or Analyze Issues Like the Rest of Us
Lawyers are objective thinkers. Essentially, the black does not mix with the white, leaving very little room for the subjective gray. So, while at the swap meet, where you stumble across a very nice coffee table, your lawyer friend may not see the potential you do for how the coffee table can be utilized. Aside from using it as a table and nothing more, your attorney friend can’t imagine the numerous uses you plan for the coffee table as, for example, an end table or a surface on which you could put plants or cherished photos of loved ones.
What the attorney sees is an old, half-beaten, nicked-up table that can’t be worth the money the seller wants for it. If the table were new, then yes, the price might be worth it. Or if the table had an incredible pedigree, then sure, the price makes reasonable sense. But for the attorney, the cost is not rooted in emotion, desire, or even lust. The table’s wherewithal comes from objective reasoning that has been instilled in him or her since law school. In short, they know no other way of thinking other than with pure and steadfast objectivity.
Conceited to the Max
Law school and the practice of law within a Big Law firm can leave an attorney confrontational and jaded, both of which are masked over with a strong sense of confidence. While it’s nice to have a significant other who is confident, that confidence can seep into everyday life, putting your relationship with your lawyer friend at risk.
Case in point: You two are still at the swap meet, and though you missed out on the coffee table, you do see an armoire you like. Your lawyer friend recognizes that you like it, yet they insert themselves between you and the seller to haggle and negotiate to the point that the seller is exhausted and simply gives up.
The problem is, just because the seller gives up doesn’t mean you get the armoire at a reduced price. It only means you are now associated with a person who thinks highly of him or herself for having won another argument while the armoire salesperson considers your attorney friend as just another holier-than-thou a-hole who probably wasn’t going to let you buy the armoire in the first place.
Lawyers are always on call
Your attorney friend’s cell phone rings, and for reasons you’ve experienced in the past, you understand a phone call at this hour on a Sunday means your Sunday may effectively be over – at least your Sunday with your attorney friend.
While on the phone, he or she nods. They ask follow up questions. They say, “Right away – on both accounts.”
“Both accounts?” you later ask.
Your attorney friend answers that there’s an afternoon party they now need to attend, then afterward, they have to go into the office for a post-party meeting.
This shows you another aspect of what life can be like when dating a lawyer. Attorneys are always on call. Yes, they are given assignments throughout a typical weekday morning to the early evening schedule. However, attorneys are also assigned tasks late at night, early in the morning, and even during dinnertime. Now, when it was promised both of you would have a nice Sunday together, it’s all dashed since your lawyer friend now has to get ready for a sudden Sunday afternoon cocktail party, and afterward, what will probably be a near all-night stint at their firm.
Sure, it may seem unfair, but again, this is the profession of law; a profession which knows no time off. And as your lawyer friend wants to make partner someday, bring in tons of business which for him or her means tons of personal revenue, they can’t afford to pass up work, a social obligation or any other duty that goes with being a lawyer. As for you, these are the breaks, negative as they are that you have to be aware of while in a relationship with a lawyer.
Dating a lawyer can legally empower you while distancing you from others.
If you’ve ever wanted to read your cable contract with more clarity, understand the warranty buried deep inside the paperwork given to you by a local car mechanic, or realize your rental agreement isn’t as watertight as it should be, then dating a lawyer can have its advantages.
Where the disadvantages lie are with the preconceived notion of what an attorney is – some of it being true of course. Your family friends may, in fact, not like that you’re dating a lawyer. They may think of attorneys as pushy and arrogant, regardless of the money they make now or in the future.
Then there are other family friends who might applaud you for your lawyer friend, simply based again upon the money your friend makes now and may make in the future.
Student debt, regardless of an associate’s salary.
Law school is as fleetingly expensive as buying a pricey sports car. In other words, for some, the return for the money spent may take a while before any value comes to fruition. All that’s directly apparent about a legal education is that it is very expensive, and will take a long time to pay off.
While an associate’s fee isn’t too bad these days as it lies comfortably in the world of six figures, paying that fee off can be a burr in both your saddle as well as your lawyer-friend’s saddle.
This is what you might forget as you imagine life outside of an apartment dwelling and inside a cute little starter home you pulled to a stop next to at a traffic signal – a little house that eventually your attorney-beau or lass shakes their head against.
“Remember, I have law school to still pay off,” he or she says, dashing the notion of cozy fireplaces or warm evening sit-downs on the back porch overlooking the pool and yard.
Well, at least undergraduate student debt wasn’t brought up, although who’s to say that isn’t part of the money-owed equation for you two as well.
You’re dead in the water as far as arguments go.
Argue about anything. Argue about how today – Sunday – hasn’t gone along as planned, and if your attorney-friend decides to argue back, good luck defending yourself.
Just in the way an attack dog is designed to sink its incisors inside anyone it’s told to attack, it is the same case with an attorney and his or her instinct to argue. If you choose to argue with an attorney, you’re in for a rude awakening of what it’s like to word volley with a pro that was trained to do this mercilessly.
In short, be prepared to lose.
You’re going to be lonelier than hell.
Those social parties like the one that for the most part, put a damper on your Sunday, those late nights at work, the continual need to argue, out-negotiate, crush an opponent during litigation, that desire to win – no matter what, can amount to a lot of lonely days and nights on your part.
While nearly all nine observations above suggest a rather gloomy, argumentative and stressful existence, all of which are the cons of being in a relationship with an attorney, there are some pros that should be considered. For instance, some of those pros are:
Accompanying your attorney friend to business parties.
By now you probably know that your lawyer friend is obligated to attend social gatherings where contacts can be made for future business opportunities. Well, as boring as that may sound, these parties can in fact be fun, in which there’s a strong possibility you will meet interesting and compelling people.
Free negotiations on your behalf.
If there is one way a person will nearly always offend an attorney, it is by engaging in what the attorney presumes are unfair business practices. Whether purchasing a piece of furniture at the now-forgotten swap meet, contesting a perceived imbalance to a rent increase, or any other scenario that appears biased, it’s good to have an attorney in your corner, better yet if that attorney is a boy or girlfriend.
Attorneys are not boring.
It would be a mistake to think that a person who spends his or her day reading, writing and arguing will be an abject bore to a significant other. On the contrary, legal cases of all types can be compelling, lyrical, and even poetic.
Sure, your attorney-friend may relay a case in a deductive, fact-by-fact manner, yet remember, by nature of their ability to interpret the law and legal issues, attorneys can be very creative as well as intriguing while they relay points, findings and incongruences of a legal case.
Whatever negative characteristics people note as part and parcel to an attorney, the flipside is attorneys can tell some damn good and forceful stories, particularly about their cases.
An attorney’s success can be infectious.
Successful attorneys are built to win. While that building process begins in law school, then further intensifies once an attorney begins working at a large, prestigious law firm, much of what makes up a successful attorney is pure raw personality and survival instinct.
A definite positive of being involved with an attorney is that their hunger for success, not to mention their confidence, can rub off on you and potentially add to your own confidence and desire to win throughout aspects of your own life.
Attorneys are heroes.
While generalizations of lawyers as money-grubbing, selfish a-holes can have some validity toward some attorneys, “heroic” has as much validity, if not more for the majority of attorneys.
Believe it or not, most attorneys want to be helpful. If they perceive an injustice of any type has or is occurring, many attorneys will spring into action. In some cases, if an attorney deeply believes in an angle toward a certain legal issue, that attorney may forego charging the client altogether, opting instead to work the case pro bono.
As difficult as it may seem given the broken plans, the late nights at work, the ‘til death do us part dedication to their job and overall aggression of their personality, to imagine your attorney friend as having compassion and concern for a person’s case, can be utterly heartwarming.
This reveals to you as well as to your family and friends, that while attorneys probably do have a tougher exterior shell than our own, they are still humans with human instincts.
Attorneys are heroes, not heels. The sooner this is known to the public at large, the sooner attorneys will be accepted for doing good by people, as opposed to being negative and selfish.
To be honest, there is a risk when getting involved with anyone. The question is, do the benefits outweigh the risks? The same must be asked with attorneys: in short, are the long lonely nights worth the deep, albeit sometimes argumentative conversations over dinner (or Sunday brunch)?
Are the long hours, continual evening and weekend interruptions, and the overall hunger to make partner a bumpy journey that you can withstand as well as your lawyer friend?
If yes, then you may have yourself a keeper.
Just remember, every profession is hard and can put a strain on not just a Sunday spent with your legally assiduous boy or girlfriend, it can significantly affect the relationship you share with them. If a profession is worth vigorous pursuit, then it must be a good profession that is worthy of a significant other’s support and understanding.
Given your relationship is strong, with both sides applying as much effort into the relationship as they can, the relationship itself will have the wherewithal to outlast any type of law practice.
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