Lawyers Looking for Love on the Internet
By Anne O'Dell
However, many lawyers are now finding that other lawyers might make the best mates.
Many cite such commonalities as long hours, demanding careers, and professional backgrounds as reasons for seeking romantic partners within the legal profession.
According to Nerve.com columnist Kate Sullivan, attorneys make better lovers because of their "attention to detail.
"And we do a lot of talking," she adds.
Others have noted the rising trend of inter-office dating at law firms.
Melissa Lafsky, a former Manhattan associate, noted in her popular blog Opinionistas, "The biological probability of taking several hundred reasonably healthy, young professionals, shutting them in a high-rise for 200 hours a week, mixing in a few heaping doses of temple-crushing stress and unremitting pressure, and expecting them not to paw each other like senior prom dates is slim at best.
"When you think about it that way, I'm surprised that people aren't lining up in pairs at remote vacant offices and windowless file rooms throughout the day… Much of the firm-cest phenomenon stems from pure necessity—when you are working these hours and attempting to 'live the big-firm life,' you simply do not possess the spare time or energy to locate another human being both unaffiliated with your firm and willing to shack up with you."
"Lawyers working 70-hour weeks don't have time for happy hours or any type of significant social life," said Elena Albamonte, practicing attorney and founder of lawyer-dating website LawyersInLove.com.
"This can result in a high level of personal dissatisfaction."
LawyersInLove.com is an online matchmaking site dealing exclusively with lawyers, law students, and legal professionals. The site will celebrate its first anniversary on Valentine's Day, February 14, 2006. It will also become a paid-membership site on that day; membership has thus far been free.
"I think that many lawyers are lonely because they have a lot of stress at work," said Albamonte.
"When they get home, their non-lawyer spouse has expectations of them that they find it difficult to meet. The very things that make [lawyers] difficult—the aggressiveness, the directness, the late hours—are all things that lawyers understand about each other because they may have some of the same traits!
"From my personal experience, however, all of my law school classmates who married each other remain married to each other, and it has been [more than] 25 years!"
Mercifully pop-up- and advertisement-free, the site is designed to accommodate the often-hectic lives of lawyers, law students, and legal professionals. The member profiles are concise and take little time to peruse.
Other dating services, such as the Washington, DC-based company FriendSwap, are tailored to the legal-eagle crowd. Founded in 2002 by Harvard grads and would-be matchmakers, the invitation-only FriendSwap has been called "one of the most exclusive black books on the East Coast."
"Certainly," remarks Washington Post writer Libby Copeland, "a subset of Washington lawyers has now dodged the threat of extinction."
One "Swapee," attorney Jon Edgar, met his wife, Allison Buchko Edgar, through FriendSwap in 2002. He told Copeland, "Even if you don't wind up hitting it off with the person, you're still meeting someone with a similar background."
Albamonte said, "I created LawyersInLove.com after using a general online-dating site and noticing that, although I really enjoyed meeting people of all professions and backgrounds, I actually had more in common with and fell into more easy conversations with other legal professionals in a variety of practice areas.
"I met a lot of interesting people, including a teacher, a butcher, a software consultant, a rocket scientist, and a federal law enforcement officer. I found that even though I enjoyed going out with everyone I met, it was more difficult for me to make conversation with people outside the legal field beyond the first two or three dates. I had to try to think of things to talk about.
"Then I met several attorneys in completely different fields from mine. I just found it very interesting to talk about their work. I understood what they were talking about immediately and felt a certain comfort level that surprised me."
Albamonte said that her positive experience dating other lawyers was what prompted her to start the lawyers-only dating site.
"It suddenly occurred to me that it might be nice to have a website for lawyers that would make it easier to meet people with whom you already have that educational experience in common. And law school is one of those experiences that really make an impact on you!"
Albamonte says that LawyersInLove.com is also a great place for law students to meet each other.
"Law students have their own highly competitive, demanding, time-consuming lifestyles. The desire for romance may be inhibited by the fear of unsuccessfully dating someone within your own law school, who you would then have to see on a daily basis for the next several years.
She said that LawyersInLove.com "allows law students to meet their peers at other schools and in different geographic areas [and] provides law students with a way to break out of law school cliques and meet prospective partners with whom they have something in common."
Albamonte said that one of the ways that LawyersInLove.com participates in the legal community is by being a sponsor at local bars and law school golf tournaments.
"Last year," she said, "we sponsored a hole at both the D.C. Bar Golf Tournament and the George Mason Law School Golf Tournament. We also gave out magnets, stress balls, and a $100 gift certificate to the Bailiwick Inn—a local luxury inn across from the historic Fairfax, VA, courthouse where George Washington's will was probated."
Albamonte has been a federal government attorney since 1984 and a member of the Georgia Bar since 1983. She currently works as a senior attorney advisor at the U.S. Department of Justice.