Wednesday, September 1, 2010

I Am Married to a Lawyer, So Sue Me

This was originally published as a guest post for our good buddy Law Momma's blog (Spilled Milk... And Other Atrocities).  She wrote a really funny post for us about how dogs and babies are not that much alike
-------------------------------------------------------------------------Since the awesomeness that is Spilled Milk... And Other Atrocities is so much about Law Momma's efforts to balance mommyhood and her legal career, I thought I would do her husband a solid and write how much fun it is being married to a lawyer.  Unless of course he is a lawyer.  In which case, I wish them both luck.  Lots of it.

My perspective is that of someone riding shotgun on the rollercoaster of a lawyer's professional and personal life.  I've been married to my husband, the now infamous Cap'n Coupon, for 13 years.  Our first date was 15 years ago, at the beginning of his second year of law school.  It was 1995 and we were both graduate students at the University of Michigan.  This is significant because most people enter their first year of law school in a serious relationship.  Most people enter their second year of law school single, wondering what the hell just happened and if Prozac isn't such a bad idea after all. 

I think its all part of the "Lawyer Indoctrination Cycle of Sucktitude".  Law schools spend the first year making students feel stupid (which is a total mind-f*ck because most of those students have spent their whole lives knocking themselves out trying to be the smartest kid in the room) and also to be ever so slightly mistrustful of their peers, with whom they are competition.  In addition, first year students -- reduced to the lowly moniker "1 Ls" --  are basically locked in the library and only allowed out for more coffee, sandwiches and occasional rounds of binge drinking (also known as "weekends").  This doesn't leave a lot of time to dote on your girlfriend or beau.

So when I met the Cap'n, he was recently single. I have been arguing unsuccessfully with him ever since.  And that brings us to the first thing you need to know about being married to lawyer...

Arguing with Lawyers Sucks Monkey Balls
In every relationship there will be fighting.  But fighting with a lawyer is like trying to perform your own Lasik eye surgery while drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon.  At the beach.  In a windstorm.  With an unwashed grapefruit spoon.  IT IS NOT ADVISABLE.  They never admit they're wrong; they never stop finding new and annoying ways to make their point; and they never ask you questions that they don't already know the answers to.  Most arguments proceed with the lawyer falling back on a tediously large arsenal of things like logic and reason while their non-lawyer adversary ends up losing his/her schmidt and saying something like: "Oh yeah? OH YEAH?! Well you Mister, are a F*CKFACE. So go suck on THAT. Where's your logic NOW?" 

Plus, they say stupid, implausible things like "even assuming you are right. . . ." when everyone knows they never honestly assume you are right.   Otherwise they would also assume they are wrong (which will never happen).

They're All Gold Star Getters
You need to know this. All lawyers are goal-oriented people. They like to win, and they're willing to work hard for it. But if they can't see that next gold star on the horizon, they start to get all antsy and restless and may make outrageous claims about giving it all up to write novels about crime fighting vampires or start a sheep farm or become a tug boat captain or a QVC hostess/television personality. 


You Will Never See Them
No matter what kind of lawyer you're dealing with, they will work all the damn time.  It's sort of a lose/lose situation.  For you.  Here's a little chart I whipped up:


So as you can see from the above very scientific data, you will basically be on your own for the duration of your marriage.  I knew a woman who was married to a lawyer for 631 years who liked to say: "The law is a jealous mistress.  And that b*tch can have him."  I guess she was tired of having to reschedule family vacations at the last minute and drive herself to the hospital while in labor.  She of course, is not a representative sample.

It's Nothing Like TV

There are a million TV shows about lawyers. And all they serve to do is give people the wrong idea. If they were to do a reality show about what a first year associate at a law firm actually does, I don't think it would be a huge sensation. Perhaps because it would be the most boring show in the history of ever. It would consist of a sallow-faced twenty-something reviewing documents for 6 hours, followed by writing memos for surly senior partners (surly because they missed their 20's in similar work) for another 6 hours, interspersed with eating bad take-out at their desks, and going home exhausted near midnight (or later) while forlornly wishing they could quit their job and go teach high school English.

Always the Cynic
They are often fatalistic and cynical in the extreme. They're always over thinking and playing mental chess (or sometimes checkers). You know why I think that is? The Indoctrination Cycle of Sucktitude again. After working hard in high school and college and struggling with the LSAT and three years of law school, what do you get? A diploma? Oh how nice for you! A diploma you can't use until you pass the Bar Exam. Then comes the least pleasant three months of your life studying for and hopefully passing the exam that will allow you to work to pay off the trillions of dollars of student loans you have just incurred. Every lawyer I know who took the Bar Exam thought they would want to go out after the test and party like the Great War just ended, nurses and all. Without exception, they all ended up going home and curling up in a fetal position for 2 days. That sort of thing leaves scars.

Other Lawyers
Over the course of a legal career, at least half of your spouse's co-workers will be complete ass hats. They're all super competitive and some of them will happily run over their own grandmothers in order to get that next gold star. It's your job to smile and nod and not mutter "douche" under your breathe at the Holiday Party. The good news is, the cool ones are usually really cool.

Even More Good News
If you end up being married to a lawyer, chances are you've got one of the good ones. All the characteristics that make them good at their job also make them good at life:
  • They will challenge you to succeed and keep learning new stuff;
  • They will entertain you with their wit and intelligence;
  • They will expect you to be great at whatever your job is (currently mine is wiping other people's body fluids and buckling small people into and out of car seats);
  • They will fight for you much more than they will fight with you;
  • They will work hard at what's important;
  • They will count on you to keep them honest and call them F*ckface when they get out of line.

 So after fifteen years of observing lawyers, I think I'm pretty lucky to be married to one. Especially one as awesome as the Cap'n. What he has to say about being married to a blogger? That's a whole 'nother thing...

(c)Herding Turtles, Inc. 2009 - 2010


  1. I am cracking up! I can identify, b/c I am married to a lawyer too. And I am a lawyer. And its like you came to my house to do research for this post!

  2. I love you. There, I said it. AND I'M NOT ASHAMED! Okay, I am a little ashamed... but only when people are watching. Thanks for the guest post... it's absolutely amazing and totally spot on right.

  3. I am married to a car salesman. It's sort of like being married to a lawyer except that their arguments look a lot like logic and reason but are really just elaborate mindf@$%s based on the car sales industry's disturbing, deep knowledge of what makes humans accept selling a car for half its value to the person charging you $1,000 more than another car is worth. One of the flashpoints in our arguments is when I turn and tell him to stop talking like a car salesman, lol.

  4. My DH has a degree in philosophy and pulls the same 'logic and reason' card with me. Sometimes I go "Eunice" on him and sometimes I sit in the driveway with the doors locked and crank up the radio. Either way, whomever is left in the house is stuck with the sweathogs, and I think he's gotten wise to that!

  5. I KNEW I liked you, Lydia! I'm also married to a lawyer...but a lawyer in a small town with a tightwad he makes a great salary....for 1955. Seriously, his boss is 89. No benefits either. ::sigh::

    I totally agree with you on the arguing thing. Most of the time, he reigns it in, but sometimes it's like unleashing a deadly weapon, like the way Marines are trained to kill but shouldn't.

  6. Oh my GOODNESS this hits home in so many ways! My husband just finished law school, recently took the Bar, and we are anxiously awaiting the results. Though he is not a lawyer *yet* this post is him to a TEE!! The only way I can win arguments is by crying or looking super sad and walking out of the room. Its not even fair how well he can argue. BUT, like you said, they will fight for you much more than they will fight with you. My husband will do almost anything for me and anyone who gets nasty with me has it coming :). Awesome post!!

  7. I'm the lawyer in my marriage. I've never tried Prozac, but St. John's Wort and margaritas got me through law school. Barely...

  8. Married to an FBI agent...sounds like I wish he was a lawyer so at least during arguments he wouldn't also be able to play the "I deal with terrorists every day" card.

  9. I'm the attorney in our household too. I win at all my arguments because when logic fails, I get to ask, "Did you pass the bar despite leaving early due to labor with your 3rd spawnling? No? Well then, I guess we know who is right!"

    Even though the logic is somewhat off, the passion is there. ;-)

    Can't wait to show this post to Mr. LJD when he gets home. He'll get a big kick out of it too!

  10. If my husband ever had to study for a bar exam again I would leave the country for those three months. We were dating when he took the bar and he skipped a wedding I was in because he said he couldn't take one night off from studying. He's also OCD, which I think must be a requirement for lawyers.

  11. HA! My husband is a lawyer, and I think you hit it SPOT. ON.

  12. Oh my... I"m the woman... who was married WITH A 3 YEAR OLD when I went to Law School. I basically didnt see my husband the entire first year cause he was smart enough to work nights... got through with lots of family help. Scarred my now 24 year old forever.. he says " you went to school to argue with me like that" YEPPIR... ps leaving the firm to open one in my small home town to spend more time with my 10 year old was the best thing ever....

  13. Try being married to a cop...Eagle Scout meets Golden Boy and dons Superman cape minus the red boots.
    The Academy is Chinese water torture meets the Bataan death march.
    Field training means he's every other cops' butt boy and can be fired at any time for any reason.
    Everyone is a schmidtbag.
    A gun is worn to every occasion.
    He. is. NEVER. wrong.
    Arguing is not allowed.
    He works all the damn time.
    Then he screws his female partner because at least **SHE** understands him.
    Yeah. It sucked.

  14. I'm a cop... married to a cop. I'd imagine it's a lot like being married to a lawyer, except there's also the absolute NEED to be in control/command at every second of the day. Multiplied times two.

    Yeah.. good times =)

  15. I'm really enjoying these post of real insight. I have a lawyer who is interested in me, and he's about to become a judge, according to a friend of his (a lawyer too, they went to law school together 20 yrs ago) who's wife is my good friend. I am currently being wooed by two other men, one a publisher of a lifestyle magazine, the other, a commercial eco green developer...Any suggestions? I'm intillectual, analytical, sensitive, and would like to think pretty laid back type - so who's more compatible? I am not a 'needy' type, I'm ok with him being gone 2 - 3 - days out of the week. It gives me time to do what I want. But date nights a must at least two or three times a month. Open to suggestions... I'm 41, these guys are between the ages of late 40's early 50's.

    1. Uhh, follow your heart? You aren't picking your outfit, girl. No one else knows who you will fall in love with. You date them all and narrow it down as you go, maybe even to zero and then find a new set of possibilities. Of course being open and honest with all.

  16. Sorry, but as a husband married to a woman lawyer, I don't see any of the positives you mention.

  17. I was called a "hero" the other day by an elderly women after she heard how much sacrifice I have made so my husband can complete his education. I wonder what attracts attorney's to women like us? I have hand held my sweetie through scholarship letters, late night proof readings and living for 8 months apart in another state to finish his Masters. (An argument he won, of course.) Thank you I really enjoyed your post!

  18. I can so completely relate to this post! I have the urge to punch my husband in the face about 3 times a day. He has the nerve to send me "memorandums of agreement" via email about household chores and other unimportant things, and he considers every conversation we have to be an oral contract (especially those where I say "yeah, whatever" to just shut him up!)

    He also likes to interupt people by repeating one word over and over as if stuttering, to insert himself into conversations. And he ALWAYS has to have the last word. It is maddening! He tells me the bureaucrats he deals with on a daily basis (he does government benefits) are idiots, and then he treats me the same way when he gets in one of his arguments, breaking things down into simple language and speaking to me as if I am "slow".

    He didn't used to be like this when we met in college, but sadly the law has changed him.

  19. EXCELLENT READ!! My husband has been in practice near 30 years now and is long past the "new lawyer" days, however some things never change. He is a SSI/disability atty and works a typical 8-5. We travel together when he goes out of state for hearings. After 18 years or trauma nursing, he is my only patient to care for now. I wouldnt change a thing!!

    Bravo to the author and good luck. It gets better as the kids get older and he practices more.
    Kate McKay

  20. i LOVED this! the entire time i was cracking up because it is 100% true! My fiannce always wants the last word to everything. EVERYTHING. & i am the exact same way so our dumb fights are more like debating for the longest time. He is working on being an environmental lawyer. Right now our relationship is completely great we spend all time we can with eachother. I am so happy but sometimes i wonder how the future together will be like with him & his long hours of work =(

  21. Totally agree! When we do argue I need to make sure I have at three pieces of evidence to back up my side. ..but even then he never admits he is wrong! He finds some excuse to end the conversation. Thanks for the great post!

  22. I'm a lawyer married to a lawyer. My husband and I are actually quite agreeable...we have a conflict ridden day why take that home.

  23. Nailed it! This SAHM/chef-by-trade-who-often-feels-the-need-to-get-a-job-to-be-equal couldn't have said it better herself. The "Arguing with Lawyers Sucks Monkey Balls" was exactly on point. :) Thanks for the laugh!

  24. This is hilarious and awesome. I love it. Now going to read more of your blog. Very uhm.. you know scientific chart. Lol.

  25. This is hilarious and I LOVE the "scientific" chart. My husband is currently a 2L and on moot court. UGH. We have been together for 11 years and 1L life was definitely our hardest year yet. We also did the crazy thing of having a kid right before he started. Lol... but we're going to make it :)

  26. Great post. I feel pretty proud of myself for negotiating nearly 20 years of marriage with one tough lawyer. I love that guy, but man, he can be so "lawyer-ish." Thank-you for sharing. I am happy to know that others are going through similar challenges.

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  28. Yes yes yes! Glad I'm not alone in the world.

    The thing that kills me the most is what a different Anonymous said about lawyer husbands treating every conversation as an oral contract. It is ludicrous.

  29. I think it's really cool to see the background point of view of someone living with a lawyer. I've always understood that they do a lot of work, but I didn't really think about how little time they must have outside of work (from the sounds of it, almost none). The comment about TV shows is so true for so many things, too. Thanks for the post!

  30. My wife is a lawyer. She lawyer modes me and I didn't realize it. I'd be so confused after an argument and thought I needed my head examined because I misremembered past events. Even with imperial proof, some reason I was still wrong. Then I admitted to a bad memory and guess what, now everything i will ever say in my argument is completely 'inadmissible' b/c I was 'on record' stating I had a bad memory. I was such a loving, caring guy. She's turned me into an angry passive-aggressive shit. I try to share my emotions, they get picked apart and criticized. So I bottle them up, I get accused of being passive-aggressive. I'm working on me and don't expect to her to change her fucktard ways. Marriage is grey and she treats it as black and white. We're heading to divorce anyway. Good luck to the next dipshit who marries her. Rule #1: Don't marry a lawyer.

  31. Thanks for the post, although old, I needed to read this. I have dated a lawyer for over 5 years, not without drama. His fight for justice never ends, anytime and anywhere, recently at a baseball game where he confronted the attendant and filed a formal complaint. I'm more laid back, let's love everyone and only see the good in everything. I came back to this article today to remind myself of why I am with him. He has been a major reason why I have transformed into my best self to date, encouraging me to excel at whatever I do and to make decisions in my best interest and, yes, he fights for me more than with me.

  32. Been with my man for 16 years, 9 years since passing the bar. Law school changes them. Blog is funny and spot-on, except the positives mentioned. Thanks; good reminder that others out there face these challenges.

  33. This is a great article. It gave me a lot of useful information. thank you very much. This is a great article. It gave me a lot of useful information. thank you very much.




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