HLS: Harvard Love & Sex

Valentine’s day is Thursday, so I thought it appropriate to discuss something dating related: HLS+HLS couples! While much of the student body is taken, there are some singles here and a portion of those singles end up dating a fellow student. On the balance, I think its a great idea, so for those of you lonely hearts considering asking out that cute classmate, go for it!

PROS

Career Sympathy

You and your significant other have planned an awesome skiing trip for the weekend. Friday morning, a partner at your firm sends an email telling you that an urgent memo is due by Monday, no excuses. You realize that this will mean cancelling the ski trip.

A lawyer significant other will understand. He/she has probably done the same thing back to you in the past and will do so in the future. It is part of the trade-offs for a career in law, and someone that has made the same choices will get it.

Shared Values and Experiences

First, most HLS students value education, having developed an impressive pre-law academic record. Second, most want to become lawyers which indicates a seriousness about career. Third, many HLS students value educational brand, having chosen HLS over lower-ranked schools that might have offered scholarships.

All of this is probative of compatibility. When it comes to raising future children, both partners would be on board with encouraging high academic achievement. And both partners will serve as role models, showing children that hard work can pay off.

Finances

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Maybe the meme is less impressive with a measly six figures, but I think you get the point. Many students are attracted to law firm careers in part for the compensation. If you date another law student also going to a firm, your starting salary as a couple is doubled! And you can share rent, etc. Of course, this is offset at least partially by double the student loans. But overall, if its a rational decision for one person, it is probably also rational for two people as a couple from a pure financial point of view.

Good Genes

Most HLS’ers are smart and will probably have smart babies if they breed. Then again, many HLS’ers are below average in athletics and the student body is below-average in looks as a whole. So this category might be a wash depending on your priorities.

Copious Amounts of Free Time during 2L and 3L

Both of you will have lots of free time after 1L. That means you can both go on side trips, join lots of activities, and just generally get to know each other. Think about trying to start a relationship while you are working. You would hardly ever see each other and it might be hard to progress to something more substantial over time. After spending a year or two together in law school you will know each other pretty well, something less likely to happen after you are in the working world.

CONS

You Would Be Dating a Lawyer

While your partner might understand your lifestyle, you will also have to understand/deal with theirs. It could be quite annoying to have your plans cancelled at the last minute. A supportive partner with a less demanding career has its own benefits. He/she would be able to better maintain the home and could cook dinner and whatnot far more often. A lawyer-lawyer couple would probably have many delivery dinners due to the time demands.

Law School Logistics

Law school has a way of artificially speeding up relationships. If you are on the law firm track, you aim for a Summer Associate position right before 2L for the summer between 2L and 3L. And, aside from clerkships, you probably will end up accepting a full-time offer from that firm. That means you basically need to choose where you want to live for a few years after school (at least) after your 1L year.

If you meet someone during the second semester of 1L, you need to choose whether to bid in the same cities/accept in the same city in about six months: a major life decision. Similarly, if you meet during 2L or 3L, one person might need to end up switching cities. Of course, you could avoid this problem by pre-screening for geographical compatibility but that could be awkward.

Hard to Meet Someone

It can be tough to meet a good prospect here. A large portion of students are in serious relationships or married going into 1L. Most social contact during 1L is through your section , extracurriculars, and maybe bar review if you are so inclined. Every section has a few couples pair off during 1L, but beyond that, if it didn’t happen during 1L it will probably never happen. Bar Review could work, but it is mostly a hook-up scene. I don’t think I know any relationships that started at Bar Review. That leaves extra-curriculars, which has its own problems. First, many extra-curriculars are not setup to be social activities. Second, people might find it objectionable for someone to be “on the prowl” as a member of their student organization. Maybe student orgs could be more explicit in the future (ACS or Fedsoc Singles Night anyone? JOLT speed dating night?).

I’ve painted a somewhat bleak picture in that last paragraph. But compare it to the bleaker situation in the future. Once working, your time will go down and your social outlets/contacts will also go down. You will meet some people at work, but that is fraught with issues. Likely you will need to depend on online dating and/or friend-of-a-friend introductions. Viewed in this light, while HLS might be tough, it’s worth trying!

Conclusion

I think the pros outweigh the cons here. So work up that courage and ask out that hottie across the aisle in Federal Income Tax. Flirt with the cutie sitting next to you in Trusts & Estates. Valentine’s Day draws near, and anyway finals aren’t for a few months so you basically have no excuse not to go for it.

3LLP is a column written by an anonymous Harvard Law 3L. The column runs every other Wednesday.

The views in opinion editorials, columns, and letters do not necessarily reflect the views of The Record.

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