Relationships?

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lawstudento
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Relationships?

Postby lawstudento » Tue Aug 30, 2011 2:49 am

2L and it's looking like mid-large firm work is the future which, professionally, is incredibly exciting. However, I'm concerned about navigating a relationship with a non-law significant other from before law school.

I expect at least, if not even well beyond, the first 3-5 years of my career to be incredibly hectic with working hours, lack of weekends, little or no vacation, and whatever else that goes along with it. It's not that I think it's impossible, it's that I wonder how someone with a "normal" 9-6 type job can cope with a marriage-tracked relationship in this situation.

I recognize the flaw in asking for advice in a place where it is mostly my peers, but I'm really looking for a sounding board in regard to this position. I'm sure there are a many law students that have this future and are considering marriage with someone that is outside of the profession and may have concerns about how easily it is to mesh the lifestyles and have a successful future. I know that little about this can be easy, but I am certainly curious about what those in my shoes are considering.

Any thoughts, musings, or reflections are appreciated.

Ghost
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Re: Relationships?

Postby Ghost » Tue Aug 30, 2011 3:17 am

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Last edited by Ghost on Thu Sep 01, 2011 12:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Relationships?

Postby reasonable_man » Tue Aug 30, 2011 7:58 am

lawstudento wrote:2L and it's looking like mid-large firm work is the future which, professionally, is incredibly exciting. However, I'm concerned about navigating a relationship with a non-law significant other from before law school.

I expect at least, if not even well beyond, the first 3-5 years of my career to be incredibly hectic with working hours, lack of weekends, little or no vacation, and whatever else that goes along with it. It's not that I think it's impossible, it's that I wonder how someone with a "normal" 9-6 type job can cope with a marriage-tracked relationship in this situation.

I recognize the flaw in asking for advice in a place where it is mostly my peers, but I'm really looking for a sounding board in regard to this position. I'm sure there are a many law students that have this future and are considering marriage with someone that is outside of the profession and may have concerns about how easily it is to mesh the lifestyles and have a successful future. I know that little about this can be easy, but I am certainly curious about what those in my shoes are considering.

Any thoughts, musings, or reflections are appreciated.


If he or she is right for you; you will both make it work. It really is that simple. My fiancee and I are engaged and will be married next summer. Poor girl started dating me the week before I started studying for the Bar exam and begining work at a mid-sized firm not particularly well known for "work life balance." We reached a point where we both knew that my job was hurting our relationship. I transitioned to a much better small firm and things have been great (made the switch a little ever a year ago). My career is further along now than I thought it would be and we are both much happier with the move. My move also meant I was able to support and help her focus on her career, which subsequently led to her finding an awesome job (with more hours but a much better future) and in turn we are both happier. You never know what will come, but if you really find the person you are meant to be with, you will make it work. Don't lose sight of the fact that the law is not your life, its a part of it.

CanuckObserver
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Re: Relationships?

Postby CanuckObserver » Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:32 am

If you have a strong foundation, emotional maturity/honesty, strong communication skills, are both self-aware individuals, and share similar priorities (such as agree that if a job is negatively affecting the relationship, it is time to make some adjustments in some way), you will likely do just fine without even really noticing.

If your relationship does not have a strong foundation though, the communication is weak or non-existent, or you are not someone who is able to effectively bring balance into your life, a demanding career most certainly will highlight the problems in your relationship. It won't MAKE them, but it will enhance them. Which in my opinion is really not a bad thing, because then you can reassess things and move forward.

I met my husband while I was starting 3L, (we married about 6 months after I graduated). We still have a wonderful relationship a handful of years on, and expect that to continue for the rest of our lives. I will be honest, as demanding as my career is mentally and so forth, his is actually even worse when it comes to the hours (always on-call, unpredictable hours, can be unexpectedly away from home for a couple days with only 2 hours notice, and so on). But we have extremely healthy communication, have great respect for each other as individuals (including our career choices), are both independent people, make our quality time together a priority (so when we have time off together, we spend it together). We also talk, a lot, about everything, and stay connected to each other even if we don't have tons of time together. And if either of us feels like we want to spend more time together, we talk about it and make it happen in some way. Where I work offers very good balance, and I chose that purposely, as having balance in my life was a priority. Not to say it is not demanding, but I certainly am not working 12+ hour days either and I can manage to get almost all weekends off except when I am prepping for a trial.

It really comes down to the strength of you as a couple and as individuals. I have seen a few relationships falter under the stress, but from what I saw, most of these were couples who were still engaged in what I would call immature or "role-based" relationships (and they were engaged in some sort of power struggle that was only enhanced by a demanding career).

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Aeroplane
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Re: Relationships?

Postby Aeroplane » Tue Aug 30, 2011 12:54 pm

Although you can't really predict the future or plan everything out in advance, here are some questions that I think are important to consider:

1) Why do you want to do mid-large firm work? To try to make partner? To exit after a few years into something lower-paying but more laid back? For the prestige? To satisfy competitive urges? To pay off your loans? To be rich? A mix of the above? Does your SO agree that your goals are important and worth major sacrifices in quality of life? For how long?

2) QOL problems are far from equally distributed among firms that do "mid-large firm work." If you have options, how do you and your SO feel about trading pay/prestige/location for extra balance? See here for a recent example: http://top-law-schools.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=163682#p4711889 Does your SO expect that you'll take the least demanding mid-to-large-firm job you can get, or is he/she willing to equally support whatever career choice you make (this also has to do with your goals)?

3) Neither you nor your SO can predict in advance how your relationship will do under the strain. If it gets to a point where excelling on the job is killing the relationship, are you committed to making changes as necessary to save it? If not, and it's "my way or the highway," that's important for your SO to know ahead of time.

4) Do you want kids ever? When? What roles do you see yourself and SO playing? What role(s) do you definitely never ever ever see yourself playing?

Also, I assume you already have a non-law SO and hence your OP. But for lurkers: other law people won't necessarily be more willing to accommodate your biglaw commitments. In some cases, they may be less willing. I like to think I would not have gotten on the marriage track with someone who planned to work in biglaw for longer than 2-3 years. If against my better judgment I had done so, I don't think it would've worked out.

jerzeelaw
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Re: Relationships?

Postby jerzeelaw » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:29 pm

I am a 2L and my SO is suffering through school with me. We are engaged now but live 2 hours from each other so you can imagine the strain. We are committed to each other and our professions are just professions. At the end of the day you are going to have to choose.

SwampRat88
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Re: Relationships?

Postby SwampRat88 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 10:35 pm

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Last edited by SwampRat88 on Sat Sep 03, 2011 4:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.

TooOld4This
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Re: Relationships?

Postby TooOld4This » Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:57 am

lawstudento wrote:I expect at least, if not even well beyond, the first 3-5 years of my career to be incredibly hectic with working hours, lack of weekends, little or no vacation, and whatever else that goes along with it. It's not that I think it's impossible, it's that I wonder how someone with a "normal" 9-6 type job can cope with a marriage-tracked relationship in this situation.


Seriously?

You seem to think very little of your SO. Being a lawyer is a job. It is up to you to treat it that way. If you expect your SO to sit on the back burner while you dedicate your entire life to the firm, then it is you, not them, that isn't coping with a marriage-tracked relationship.

Figure out your priorities. If you aren't with someone who shares them, then move on.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Relationships?

Postby reasonable_man » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:20 am

TooOld4This wrote:
lawstudento wrote:I expect at least, if not even well beyond, the first 3-5 years of my career to be incredibly hectic with working hours, lack of weekends, little or no vacation, and whatever else that goes along with it. It's not that I think it's impossible, it's that I wonder how someone with a "normal" 9-6 type job can cope with a marriage-tracked relationship in this situation.


Seriously?

You seem to think very little of your SO. Being a lawyer is a job. It is up to you to treat it that way. If you expect your SO to sit on the back burner while you dedicate your entire life to the firm, then it is you, not them, that isn't coping with a marriage-tracked relationship.

Figure out your priorities. If you aren't with someone who shares them, then move on.


I think its awesome that you can read something negative into what op is asking.. Congrats on that..

TooOld4This
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Re: Relationships?

Postby TooOld4This » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:54 am

reasonable_man wrote:
I think its awesome that you can read something negative into what op is asking.. Congrats on that..


:lol: Being called out as a cynic by you is truly an accomplishment.

The word "cope" set off my alarms.

But you are right -- it may have been heavy handed. I do think it is as simple (and complicated) as my last line though.

DrumminD21311
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Re: Relationships?

Postby DrumminD21311 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:19 pm

I'm a strong advocate for open relationships. That's the way to go. If you're working too much and your life partner isn't having his or her needs met by you, let him or her get some action on the side. Make sure it's videotaped so you can enjoy it together later.

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reasonable_man
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Re: Relationships?

Postby reasonable_man » Thu Sep 01, 2011 4:58 pm

TooOld4This wrote:
reasonable_man wrote:
I think its awesome that you can read something negative into what op is asking.. Congrats on that..


:lol: Being called out as a cynic by you is truly an accomplishment.

The word "cope" set off my alarms.

But you are right -- it may have been heavy handed. I do think it is as simple (and complicated) as my last line though.


You might actually be the first. Nicely done.. :D

sjedood
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Re: Relationships?

Postby sjedood » Thu Sep 01, 2011 5:09 pm

I got married in my year in April...finished top 5% with LR...so I disagree with anyone who says its not going to work.

TheFactor
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Re: Relationships?

Postby TheFactor » Thu Sep 01, 2011 7:50 pm

sjedood wrote:I got married in my year in April...finished top 5% with LR...so I disagree with anyone who says its not going to work.

It worked for me, so it is impossible that it will not work for everyone else.

Makes sense.

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D'Angelo
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Re: Relationships?

Postby D'Angelo » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:18 pm

TheFactor wrote:
sjedood wrote:I got married in my year in April...finished top 5% with LR...so I disagree with anyone who says its not going to work.

It worked for me, so it is impossible that it will not work for everyone else.

Makes sense.

everybody's experience is always archetypal! don't you understand?

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blazinswordofjustice
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Re: Relationships?

Postby blazinswordofjustice » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:28 pm

SwampRat88 wrote: At least we can study together.


:D :mrgreen: and thats what makes it work!
Last edited by blazinswordofjustice on Mon Oct 03, 2011 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

sjedood
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Re: Relationships?

Postby sjedood » Thu Sep 01, 2011 8:34 pm

TheFactor wrote:
sjedood wrote:I got married in my year in April...finished top 5% with LR...so I disagree with anyone who says its not going to work.

It worked for me, so it is impossible that it will not work for everyone else.

Makes sense.


I didnt say its impossible that its not going to work for everyone else...I said i disagree with anyone who says its not going to work. Its different, since people who say its not going to work are saying so without even knowing the people. All im saying is it can work and its wrong to say it cant.

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sundance95
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Re: Relationships?

Postby sundance95 » Thu Sep 01, 2011 10:54 pm

reasonable_man wrote:If he or she is right for you; you will both make it work. It really is that simple.




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