By Anne-Marie D. • December 16, 2012•Writers in Residence
I cannot believe this is my last post—this past year was filled with more rollercoasters than I was prepared for, but, nevertheless it was a year that taught me a lot (and went by too quickly). During my 3L+1 year, the following things happened: I went through a breakup, took the bar twice (and passed), turned my contracting job into a full time position, moved three times and am gearing up to move again, and billed. A lot. At work, I have not even seen a case from start to finish yet, so I feel like a lot of my experiences are still “firsts.” Among these firsts have been the experiences of dating other attorneys. This is something I resoundingly refuse to do for many reasons (though I reserve the right to change my mind in the unlikely event that I meet an attorney worth dating). Keep in mind I am just generalizing from my own experiences, so, please don’t interpret what I write as me saying that all attorneys are this way.
Attorneys are difficult. We are overwhelmingly difficult people to please. We argue and pick over words for a living. We work long hours, are often stressed, and have a hard time not getting what we want out of negotiations. Now, put two of those people together. That often is not a combination that can translate into a meaningful long term relationship. Now, if what you are looking for is short term companionship, then, attorneys are perfect. They’re great at scheduling, understand if you cancel last minute because a partner wants you to draft a letter for his or her review first thing tomorrow morning, and will drink heavily with you so that you both can get over the awkwardness of not really liking each other that much.
But I digress. One attorney I dated would argue with me over what I meant when I said something over gchat. Gchat! He would also need to counter every restaurant suggestion I made and propose an alternate time to grab dinner or grab coffee. There never seemed to be a reason behind these negotiations aside from the fact that he was argumentative and just wanted to be difficult. I had only known him a few weeks but our negotiations over where to grab dinner quickly before returning to billing made a future between us seem unimaginably awful.
Attorneys are also competitive. No matter the type of day I was having, this one fellow I dated could always—and always made sure he expressed—how he outdid me. He works at a higher ranked firm than mine (seriously, I thought my days of comparing rankings were behind me after graduating from law school), and works in the same practice area as me. So, when at the end of a day I would want to sink into a couch with a glass of wine and whine, he would listen, but when I was done I’d feel worse instead of better. Instead of being a comforting ear, he would become competitive. Oh, you had an unexpected six inch thick motion served on you? I had two unexpectedly large filings come in today. You billed ten hours? I always bill at least ten hours a day. You had to research a difficult trademark issue? I was analyzing expert reports for my patent case today. And so on.
So, at the end of my 3L+1 journey, I have come to the conclusion that dating attorneys isn’t the thing for me. Maybe it can be something I venture into once I have settled myself more in my work, but at the time being, I just don’t have the time to weed through the crazy quirks and personalities that seem to affect the population of attorneys more than laymen.
And so my friends, the end of my 3L+1 year draws to a close. I made mistakes along the way and have more questions now than I do answers, but it is what it is. I did it all the best I could and I did it my own way. As difficult as one’s first year as an attorney is, I am happy to have made it through and wish all you newly minted attorneys the best of luck doing the same. Thank you for reading this blog, and I wish everyone a marvelous holiday season and joyous new year!