There’s no doubt in my mind that law school is hard on relationships. In my time at law school I’ve seen at least three of my classmates go through a divorce and dozens of other relationships crash and burn. I’ve managed to tank two perfectly good relationships myself by paying more attention to law school than my then-girlfriend. In the interest of trying to help others avoid the folly of hope triumphing over experience, here are some of my thoughts on dating during law school. 1Ls, sorry to burst your bubble.
- On dating another law student: This is one of those things that seems like a good idea. At first. In the first place, when your social sphere is largely limited to a 4-block area around the law building (which is mostly filled with undergrads pursuing lesser degrees) the majority of your dating pool is going to be other law students. Secondly, if you’re a 3L in this economy you’ve probably come to appreciate the ability to commiserate with someone about the complete ineptitude of the Career Services Office and they’ll understand the time commitments that law students get themselves into. This is a trap. Trying to sync the free time of two law students is more difficult than trying to get five people to agree on pizza toppings. By the time everything’s said and done you might be able to see each other once a month. Which, come to think of it, is probably the actual amount of time that most people want to spend with a law student.
- On dating someone who’s not a law student: Another one of those things that seems like a good idea. At first. Who better to help you stay sane during three years of surrealism than someone who’s separated from it? The problem with this is that normal people are going to want normal interaction, which, as a law student, you’re probably not really able to provide. And the chances of a normal person understanding why you’re drinking heavily at 11:45 in the morning after the MPRE are fairly small. Plus, normal people ask inconvenient questions like, “Don’t you think there’s something inherently wrong about a profession where the ethics qualification is graded on a curve?”
- On the effect of Law School on small talk: There is nothing that can kill a conversation faster than the phrase, “you know, that reminds of this case I read about . . . .” Normal people segue into comments about the latest episode of Castle (Okay, geeky people segue into comments about Castle) and not comments about what’s really interesting about Larry Hillblom’s alleged proclivity to deflower virgins is the probate issues that were caused when alleged illegitimate children kept popping up. And god forbid you’re a tax guy; nothing drives people away quite like stopping to explain the intricacies of the corporate double-taxation system or the fact that the estate tax actually produces so little income for the government that it’s basically nothing more than a pointless wedge issue played up by both sides when they should be paying attention to things that actually matter. I’ve probably lost my readers by now. Imagine how much worse that goes over in a bar.
Basically, the most fundamental observation about dating in law school is this: Don’t. Unless you’re a masochist. And since you’re a law student, that means you’re probably going to anyway.
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