Ultra Vires


Finding Love in Law School…?

Dating is hard enough without 100 percent exams, OCIs, and cold calling in the mix

Credit: John Felise via Unsplash

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, some might be feeling the heat, whether in a relationship or not. Now, let’s add midterms, student debt, and the overall pressures of law school to the mix. *queue that sad indie girl playlist*

Law students are known for being overworked and stressed, so the mere idea of dating might seem impossible to some. Is it easier to date other law students? Should you be looking outside the four walls of the Jackman Law Building, or should we just be hunkering down and focusing on our readings for the time being? Since February 14 might come with some social expectations to either be in love or be in pursuit of it, I thought I might get some law students’ opinions on finding love in law school.

Being Single in Law School

It might be common for many of us to put work before relationships. And that is totally fine! Our internal competition and drive to succeed are some of our best qualities (debatably), so it’s understandable for some law students to choose to remain single and focus on school. For others, it’s about striking the right balance between school and social life. 

There is nothing wrong with being single in law school. Whether that’s a choice, you haven’t found “the one,” or you’re simply not interested in dating, going solo can be freeing, especially during these formative school years. There are lots of other things to worry about or focus your time on outside of dating apps or however else people meet these days.

If you’re single, you’re not alone. Society and even law school culture at times might make us feel as if finding a relationship is the last piece of the puzzle that we need to achieve before we graduate. People might say that you should find someone before you article, before life gets too crazy. That’s obviously BS. You can find someone at any point in your life, or you can get your fulfillment from family and friends. And if you choose to throw yourself into your career, then that’s perfectly okay. 

Dating Within Law School

It might be appealing to date other law students—they’re easy to meet, they understand the highs and lows of U of T Law, and they likely have many of the same interests. However, for many, the thought of dating within the law school isn’t ideal. One student says that while people can find very compatible partners in law school, that would not be their preferred situation. “I think law school is a tight-knit environment, and dating in school, especially dating a couple of people in school, can cause a lot of drama,” the student claimed. Another student said that they have seen more successful relationships outside of law school than within. While having a partner who is a fellow law student can bring comfort and relatability, others might seek relationships outside of the law school for a reprieve from the strain of studying law. “It’s nice to go home and talk to someone who doesn’t even know what “Bay Street” means.”

That is not to say that dating other law students can’t be great. Another student expressed gratitude that their partner can study with them and have a similar schedule to theirs. “I like having a partner in the same field because we fully understand what it means to be in law school and how hard it can be; we are a good support system for each other.” Sometimes, people outside of our little U of T Law bubble might not get why we’re sweating over the 2L or articling recruits, or what an HH means. “You can share the hate for the same classes and laugh at memes together,” one student pointed out. It can be nice to have someone who just gets it.

Maintaining Relationships Outside of the Law School

Many people in law school have partners outside of law, and this can be a great thing! One student mentioned that “having separate interests from my partner is what brings us together—we’re always learning something new from each other.” It can definitely be nice to have a different perspective on things. When school or work gets intense, it can be refreshing  to talk to someone who can show you that there is more to life than the law. 

Clashing schedules or studying stress can get in the way of students’ relationships with others who might not understand the hectic world of law. Both parties might have to compromise to find the time to see each other while also supporting one another, even when the non-law student might appreciate or comprehend the worries of law school. The law student might also need extra support and compassion when going through exam season or a round of in-firm interviews. 

These concerns persist in any relationship, though, and there are many pros to sharing your life with someone who isn’t in your direct line of work. Whether it’s getting a break from talking about law at all, or fascinating your partner with new information about whatever legal field you’re into, there are always perks to dating outside the law school. 

Final Thoughts

In an article written by Katherine Laidlaw called “Single in Law School? You’re Not Alone,” the author asks a recent law school graduate for his opinion about dating in law school. Laidlaw puts great emphasis on how students may feel lonely in school and how to “make the most of singledom.” While I empathize with the subject of the article, I don’t necessarily agree with the premise. Yes, students may feel lonely, but I don’t think that’s solely because of their relationship statuses. And I definitely don’t agree that people have to “make the most” out of being single. A relationship (or lack thereof) is not a life sentence, and there are, or should be, many other things that school and life have to offer. 

In conclusion, we already put enough pressure on ourselves as it is, so let’s not worry ourselves more.

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