The Case Against Dating in Law School: 5 Antagonistic Arguments

The Case Against Dating in Law School: 5 Antagonistic ArgumentsPlease welcome back Jaclyn Wishnia, our now 2L guest writer from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. She discusses the counterpoint to her previous dating post, and offers reasons why you may want to hold off on dating in law school.

When it comes to law school, the topic of dating often conjures up cringe-worthy images such as potentially facing a loath some ex as your future adversary; or becomes associated with words like, unprofessional. Despite the unsavory connections that dating in law school brings to mind, law students, no strangers to a challenge, dismiss these notions and forge ahead confidently assuming their relationship will be an outlier or that maybe their relationship is the stress reliever they deserve. While the chances are slim for accidentally running into your ex as opposing counsel in court (only a small portion of cases result in court per year), there are much stronger reasons available that build a case for why it might not be the best idea to date someone in law school.

1. Personal Free Time

Whether you are a 1L or a 3L, law school related obligations reign paramount to any personal commitments. The sheer volume of tasks alone dictate the amount of responsibility and focus required to excel throughout those three short, yet formidable years. In law school, you will find yourself faced with: specified courses, assignments, finals, graduation requisites, internships, externships, interviews, summer jobs, and extra-curricular activities. These are the necessary burdens that you must endure because they will help steer your future legal career. Some days, you may even find yourself breathless and yearning for a day to recoup, so you can avoid burning out. If you calculate those hours along with daily life, chores and minor relaxation periods, there is virtually no time left for anything else. Now, add these stress factors while simultaneously considering your significant other’s schedule, and disaster basically plots its own time slot in your relationship. When you are constantly under pressure to perform well, you need to carve out time for yourself to stay sane. Keeping someone around who fills up those barely existent hours already, may have you resenting them by the end of the semester and vice versa.

2. Distractions

On a contrary note, there is always the possibility that you decide to neglect your law school obligations and choose to focus on them instead. Distractions, especially ones that will not further your GPA or legal career, can interfere immensely with your law school performance. Before you start to think, well, I am not overly obsessive in my relationships, a partner preoccupying your thoughts is not the only form of a distraction. Here are some other examples of how a relationship can operate as a diversion: binging one more episode on Netflix with them instead of studying; breaking up and either running into them in school or getting stuck with them in a class; the gossiping amongst your classmates that coincides with any type of relationship; saving hours to spend with them instead of joining an extra-curricular; or rushing through your studying or class preparation, which you normally would not do, to give them more of your precious time. The bottom line is, whether you are madly in love or fending off nasty rumors together, the concept of being in a relationship is a distraction in and of itself.

3. Competition

Under normal circumstances, you probably would not want to enter into a relationship with someone who envies your triumphs instead of celebrates them. In law school, however, the stakes are higher due to class rankings as well as options for future legal careers that precariously hang in unbalance. When both of you are vying for similar aspirations, in an already naturally competitive environment, a little competition can transform into ugly, vindictive behavior. What once were shared dreams and fears between the two of you, can quickly become fodder for one of the parties if the break-up is a particularly nasty one; or if one partner is more distraught about their performance in law school compared to the other half, their animosity towards them can overshadow the entire relationship and ruin what would typically be used as a support system in an ordinary setting.

4. Bursting The Bubble

Another argument for why you may not want to date one of your colleagues is because it further traps you inside the law school bubble. Dating someone in law school usually means you are confined to hanging out with the same classmates and discussing stressful, school-related items such as how well you did on a final. Sometimes it is good to remove yourself from the law entirely. It helps reset your thinking patterns, expands your mind to notice alternative creative, problem-solving methods, and provides you insight into different industries that could help a future client win their case. Although being able to relate to an experience may feel like a comfort, you will be surrounded by the law for the rest of your life. Take a break while you still can and get to know people outside of legal realm.

5. Professionalism

Despite the semi-high school vibe, law school is a professional graduate school. This is not college where on any given night you can find people dancing on the bar or playing drinking games. In law school, behavior like that might not be outright mentioned, but it will definitely be remembered by your future colleagues. Relationships are stressful enough, but to navigate one while concurrently dealing with the gravitas of law school challenges, is a breeding ground for tears, or, at the very least, outlandish behavior. Do not jeopardize your legal career by being those people who are remembered for their epic, public break-up during finals, instead of for their amazing accomplishments in an activity such as, moot court.

As always, these are solely suggestions for why it may not be the best idea to date someone in law school. They can be used as a guideline for when you are debating whether or not you can handle a full-fledged relationship in addition to law school commitments, or if you just need to get that creep from Con Law off your back. Your legal career should ultimately come first. If you found someone that makes you happy and acts as a solid support system, then consult our other article that advocates for dating in law school. Whatever you decide, make sure you take some time to deliberate, and choose wisely.


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About Jaclyn Wishnia

Jaclyn Wishnia graduated from Fordham University with a double major in Journalism and the Classics. Upon graduation, she accepted a role as a paralegal. After several years of working for both criminal and entertainment law firms, she decided to pursue her passion, to become an attorney, and enrolled in law school. She is currently a 2L at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law located in New York, NY. Additionally, she serves as a staff editor for Cardozo's Arts & Entertainment Law Journal, Treasurer of Cardozo's Entertainment Law Society, and is a student liaison for the NYS Bar EASL committee.

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