jessie

Office Romance: No Longer so Hush Hush?

A recent article in the New York Times about office relationships indicates they are becoming more acceptable to upper management. This reminded me of a warning I received as a summer law clerk: don't date another associate-it will be held against you.

At the time, the advice was given to me in the context of the many ways in which women are held to double standards in big firms: men are not penalized for "hooking up" with the cute summer, but those cute summers are.

I never ended up at a big firm and I never dated anyone in my summer class, but Boyfriend was a member of my 1L section. Though I never articulated a good reason for it, I always insisted that our budding relationship remain under wraps until after our first year was over and wew ould no longer be in class together. I don't think I ever feared the kind of retribution in law school I had been warned existed in a professional setting, but instinctively I didn't want my colleagues thinking about me in that way either.

I wonder if the advice was right-is there a double standard out there? Is it peculiar to summer clerks, who are always under a microscope of judgment anyway? Or does it extend to permanent members of the firm?

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