Lawyers should never marry other lawyers, This is called inbreeding, from which comes idiot children -- and more lawyers.
-- David Wayne in the 1949 Tracy-Hepburn film, "Adam's Rib"
There is a fundamental question about having a life in the law, one that often is thought about but seldom voiced out loud: Should two lawyers mate? Or for that matter date?
We're talking about conflicts-free lawyers romancing lawyers here. Different firms, different practice areas, different cities perhaps: Single female transactions lawyer in major Houston firm, 33, with interests in jazz, Rolfing and tort reform seeks Dallas insurance defense lawyer, age 35-40, who enjoys lobbying, quail hunting and cuddling while reading the dissenting opinions of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia.
"Lawyers tend to be attracted to lawyers for three reasons," Puhn says. "Similar personality traits, shared histories and shared interests." Since people seek whatever they like about themselves in others, adds Puhn, "There is a natural tendency for lawyers to find lawyers in the natural mix of other people." [Ed. note: I thought the attraction was shared income tax brackets. I'm talking about other people's perception of course. I'm not that shallow.]
So what are these self-selecting traits that attract lawyer to lawyer? Says Puhn: "Being a lawyer signals that you are detail-oriented, solution-oriented, have a pragmatic world view and are able to engage in complex conversations with a communication style that seeks to explain and hear things with evidence and logic." [Ed. note: I hate it everytime lawyers are characterized or stereotyped, especially since I never seem to fit any of them. It's more than enough to make me think I'm trying - everyone in my position is just trying until we pass that little thing euphemistically called 'the bar' - to enter the wrong profession. I'm insecure like that.]
But in the wrong relationship, couldn't that mean being attracted to an anal retentive, heartless bastard who is such a control freak he won't believe a word you say without demanding strict proof thereof? [Ed. note: Boy, I sure do hope so for my sake.]
A jerk can be a jerk no matter the profession, Puhn says.... [Ed. note: There just happens to be a lot more found in this particular profession.]
And between lawyers, that information suggests "a shared history and shared interests," she adds. If someone says to a date, "Oh, I am a lawyer too," both reason that they have been through the hell of law school, sat for the bar exam and possibly worked impossibly long hours at a big firm. "It's comforting to be with someone who understands where you have been," Puhn says. [Ed. note: Huh? Don't most of us want to get away from most people from law school? By the way, I'm not talking about any of you SWLAW folkreading this. And who wants to be reminded of taking the bar? As for working impossibly long hours at a firm, wouldn't the attraction be to someone working at your firm so that you could have a quickie in the conference room, which is not what this article is talking about?]
But some law professors find little comfort in law school or its memories. Rather they see it as the dysfunctional playpen where baby lawyers cut their competitive teeth. "Relationships are collaborative, they are not competitive," says Lawrence Krieger, a clinical professor of law at Florida State University College of Law. "We are trained to be objective and analytical often to the exclusion of feelings, intuition and the interpersonal self. When you are taught to think like a lawyer, you expect the worst, so you can defend against it." [Ed. note: Two things come to mind; it's good to know what law professors really think about law school and us law students and that last sentence explains a lot about Brian.]
Puhn also cautions against being all-lawyer, all-the-time, bringing the courtroom into the bedroom. "There is a natural process of discovery that lawyers engage in, but that doesn't mean someone has to win and someone has to lose," she says.
So basically, lawyers look to other lawyers because the similarities fulfill the desire to be understood but two-lawyer relationships are difficult. I think we all know what the answer is here. Lawyers should mate outside of their profession while cheat on their mate from within the profession. It's that simple people.
Maybe I am detail-oriented, solution-oriented, with a pragmatic world view after all. There is hope for me yet.