Guest post by Brittany, The Law School Wife

A year ago I was days away from graduating college and weeks away from marrying a very dreamy guy—a witty, hardworking, smarter-than-anyone-I-know guy, who also/unfortunately happened to be a 0L.

I was pretty much terrified. Terrified of facing the worst job market in decades and crossing my fingers I wouldn’t be uninsured for too long. Terrified of leaving the comfy, cozy world of late night Mexican Martinis and late mornings sleeping through the most boring finance class in the world, and trading it all in for an earlier-than-I-would-ever-schedule-classes commute and conference calls that would put an insomniac to sleep.

But mostly, I was terrified of how law school would change my husband as a person, how it would change us as a couple.

If you or your loved one are a 0L, this might come as a surprise to you, but it shouldn’t shock anyone else: There is no lack of negativity about relationships in law school. I wish I had a quarter (or a bottle of wine) for every time someone told me everyone in their section broke up or got divorced. GEE, THANK YOU for telling a happy newlywed whom you’ve just met that their relationship is doomed. THANKYOUVERYMUCH.

I’ll be honest with you again. I’m something of a worrier. So you might could imagine that my worst-case-scenario personality went into a tailspin after being told repeatedly that the chances of our marriage surviving law school were SLIM TO NONE, even by my husband’s law school, who hosted an orientation event for new law students and their spouses to combat the high rate of divorce among its students, what with the stress, different paths and alleged infidelity among section members.

And so I started blogging. I write about the stupid stuff that I do to keep myself occupied. I write about the murky waters of my departure from the education system after 18 well-structured years and my struggle to find concrete goals and the paths to achieve them in the unstructured world of the careerwoman. And I write about what it’s like to be married to a law student.

Now that my husband and I are about two weeks shy of being one third of the way through, having survived the year that is commonly accepted as the scariest, I am here to tell you that it is was not nearly as scary as I thought it would be. I might have overreacted a bit, big surprise. I should never have been as worried as I was. And there are a few things we learned along the way, things I wish someone had told me a year ago, instead of rambling off anecdotal evidence of divorce:

  1. Talk about your expectations, both as the Law Student and as the Law Student’s Spouse. Get on the same page. Who will wash the dishes? Where will the serious studying take place? Make compromises. Readjust as necessary as the semester wears on, but always be honest and COMMUNICATE.
  2. Agree that law school is not a free pass for your Law Student to not be fully present in your relationship and in your home. Life after graduation will be even busier with more complications: new jobs, new children, billable hour requirements, more financial obligations. If your Law Student doesn’t take the trash out during the seven hours between torts and bar review, they certainly won’t take it out after working 12 hour days at a high-stress job.
  3. On the flip side, realize that there will be times when the Spouse needs to pick up a little extra slack around the house, ie when a paper is due, finals are coming up, or during the months of hell when your newly minted JD graduate studies around the clock for the bar. But Law Students, if your Spouse has a meltdown 13 days into finals and tells you they need an extra hand, JUST UNLOAD THE DISHWASHER. It takes two minutes away from your outline, but those two minutes will mean the world to your Spouse.
  4. Law school is an inherently selfish endeavor. Sure, it will benefit the couple as it (hopefully) increases your family’s earning potential, but it demands the Law Student’s undivided attention. It will be the biggest challenge they’ve ever faced, and when they’re not studying, all the work they could be doing will never be far from their thoughts. It’s true what they say: The law is a demanding mistress. It is the Law Student’s responsibility to never lose track of the simple fact that law school is just three years, while a marriage lasts a lifetime. As a couple, you have to keep your eye on the big picture and take the long-term view. NEVER FORGET THIS.
  5. That being said, it is enormously important for Law Students to have a life outside of law school. Being in a serious relationship sets them up perfectly for this. Get out of the library. Step away from the casebook. Go on a date. Play in a Sunday soccer league. Get out on the lake for some sun and a margarita.
  6. No really, go on dates. If money is tight, check out Groupon, and other money-saving websites for deals. And there’s always the trusty fall-back: Hulu or Netflix and a bottle of wine can be just the thing for some quality law-school-free couple time on a shoestring budget.
  7. Spouses: Have your own life. Your significant other will spend A LOT of time reading, or whatever it is that they do. The work never ends. Your student could study all day everyday if they wanted to (don’t let them!). In the meantime, stay busy yourself. Whether at work or through hobbies, don’t ever let yourself get too bored or be too dependent upon your spouse for entertainment and happiness.
  8. Cancel cable. I’m dead serious. You will thank yourself (and me) when you realize how much time and money you save.
  9. Spouses, be prepared to struggle with your part in your Student’s law school career. As your two lives merge and become indelibly intertwined, it is absolutely possible to feel like you are in law school right there with them just a bit yourself. You will learn more about the seedy underbelly of law school than you would ever care to know. You will make sacrifices. You will take on a greater burden to make your loved one’s life easier. You are a decision maker. I struggle with “we” language. “We accepted a job offer.” Well, it was his job offer, so technically he accepted it. But it affects my career. It determines whether or not a couple hundred miles separate us all summer. I feel anxious during finals, though not as much as he does, naturally. It sure feels like a “we,” even if the world might tell you otherwise. You’ve been warned.
  10. Lastly, know that there is a growing body of evidence that being in a healthy, committed relationship can actually benefit your education and fledgling career. Married students, particularly married men (I know, ladies, it’s not fair), have been found to significantly outperform their unmarried peers, presumably because they have someone with whom to share the burden, someone to pick up the slack and run the house so they can focus on studying and not the dry cleaning that needs to be fetched. They’re more likely to eat well and get enough sleep on a regular schedule, even during periods of great stress. Never neglect your relationship. A happy home life will benefit your academic life, not to mention your overall health and mental well-being.

As we head into my husband’s 2L year, what everyone says will be the most work, I am no longer scared. Life will keep marching on. We’ll adjust as needed. But this time the change isn’t scary. I feel prepared and ready to face the long nights while my husband does whatever it is 2Ls do (with lots of Hulu and blogging).

A few notes:

Every person is different. Every relationship is different. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to surviving law school, relationship intact, so please take my advice for what it’s worth, just one couple’s experience. And not everyone can or wants to get married, I simply blog about what I know.


  1. mglickman says:

    This is some very good advice!
    I have two classes until I’m done law school. Went into it married. We had two kids during it. (Worked full-time during it also, but that’s beside the point.)
    One thing you touch on but don’t mention explicitly: Law student must prioritize, not just their time, but their goals. Mine were simple: (1) Family, (2) Work (to pay for house and feed family), (3) School.

    If you have your priorities straight, everything else falls into place.

  2. Randall Ryder says:

    Great advice. I met my wife in law school, not only did she help me survive law school, it forced me to balance my life. If you cannot handle a relationship in law school, you definitely cannot handle one after law school.

  3. Sarah says:

    This is an interesting post. I’m going to be a 1L in the fall and have had concerns about my relationship lasting through it. You gave some great points to discuss before it. I think he will be able to handle it, but who knows? I guess I’ll find out in three years!

  4. Awesome post Brittany. I especially like your points #2, #3, and #4. Well said and very important.

    Congrats to you and your husband for making it through!

  5. Lindsay says:

    As a former law student – now lawyer, it is important to realize a couple of other things also. Never use the word – Divorce, in your relationship or in your discussions with anyone else. The word itself has extreme power and can lead you to that point. Have discussions with your spouse about what you want your life to look like after law school. Listen to what your spouse envisions and together get a picture of what you together want out of life.You must plan now for the type of life you want or you will not have it. It is easy for the work ethic that you develop in law school to carry on after you start working at your first firm. Big firms count on it. The long hours – big money – can have a detrimental effect on your relationship, if you have not planned in advance. There is a way to bill the requisite hours of a big law firm and have a good family life but it takes planning and setting priorities. The best time to establish those is now, not when your spouse graduates. If your spouse learns how to budget time now, he will do it later. Planning and envisioning the future together will make it come true, otherwise you let life happen and that can be the worst thing ever. Plan your life together and then work your plan. Happiness will come from thinking about the future now and then believing it will happen. Best wishes to you all. A man with a wife who demanded this and now has a better life because of it.

  6. Lindsay says:

    Just a couple of other things.
    1. When your spouse accepts his summer offer and makes crazy money in another city, go with the flow. Ask him to ask the firm if he can have a week off during the summer so he can spend time with you on a vacation. A good firm will grant this and in my case the firm paid for three days of my time off. So I got a paid vacation as a summer associate. You just have to ask and you will be surprised what you get.
    2. If you are living in another town and come in for weekends, the firm will make it a point of getting you tickets to the events you want to go to at no charge to you. My wife and I attended a couple of ballets and baseball games in the company box, whenever my wife came to town. I would just tell them when I planned to have her come to town and they would give me first preference on events. It was a bonus that other associates did not get a chance to receive.
    3. Your spouse will be so glad to see you it will be like a honeymoon all over again. Enjoy it!!
    4. As a summer associate, the law student spouse should ask the firm person in charge of associates, not one of the lawyers, if they know about any place that may hire people in the line of work that non law student prefers to work in. You would be surprised how many contacts can be made this way. Your spouse may actually get an offer before the law student.
    5. Never underestimate the value of planning your lives together, your Vision creates Reality. again VISION CREATES REALITY!!!
    6. In the last two weeks before the bar and preferably the month before, go home, visit your parents and old friends. Let the student prepare and live by themselves. Demand they study with friends. This will relieve them of the guilt they feel for studying non stop at that time and will take you out of the stress picture.
    7. Bar review and exam time is all about them, they will not feel complete until they pass the bar. Getting the degree was a step, but passing the bar is the ultimate release and really what they have been working for. Let them make this all about them, then they cannot complain later that if you hadn’t demanded that they put up those dishes or go with you to some event, that they would have scored higher on the bar or felt more comfortable taking it.

  7. The Happy Dash says:

    Great post! I’m a medical school student’s wife, and there are a ton of similarities. “We” graduate next year and I can’t on #9 since being married – we are are in this together :)

  8. Kate says:

    Ummmmm, yeah, I’m going to disagree with Lindsay’s points about asking your summer clerkship for time off… Do you want to be remembered as “the moochy clerk?” With all the competition for summer clerkships and the fact that there are no longer offers for nearly everyone who performs decently during the summer, you want to appear as hard-working as possible. Clerkships are usually only 6 to 8 weeks – you need to put in enough time with the firm to clearly demonstrate your work ethic, intelligence, and personality. Vacation when you have a job… or on Spring Break or Christmas or in the time you have left after your summer employment comes to an end.

    And ASKING for free tickets to events? No. No, no, no. They are paying you (usually commiserate with the salary of a 1st year associate) to WORK and this is your opportunity to prove that you WANT to WORK – this isn’t summer camp, and it’s time to get used to the idea that pretty soon, you will not be a student with summers off. If you are clerking at a firm, several fun social events will usually be planned already (and spouses / significant others are usually included in these events as well), most likely someone will be purchasing your lunch on a daily basis, and tickets to events may be OFFERED. By all means, take advantage of these opportunities (not only are they fun, but they provide an opportunity for your potential future coworkers to get to know you on a more personal level) when they present themselves, but you do not want to form the impression that you are only out for the free swag.

  9. slynnro says:

    Yes, yes, follow Lindsay’s advice if you want to be That Guy, ya know the one who completely takes advantage of the firm and asks for perks that no one, even the firm’s ACTUAL EMPLOYEES get. If you want to be The Guy who is known not for working hard, but for gladly taking the inch offered and asking for the mile.

    In other words, don’t do that. You are there to work and earn an offer for a job, not get lots of free goodies. Also, big law recruiting ain’t what it used to be. It’s not all about throwing money at the clerks, and you don’t earn your job by not effing anything up or avoiding pissing anyone off like it was a few years ago. Perks are seriously cut back for employees and clerks, and you are expected to actually earn your job instead of not lose it.

  10. Dave says:

    Maybe, I might not agree with all the points but as a guy on a budget I definitely agree on point 6. has saved me on plenty of dates. Some girls have thought it a bit tacky but that says enough about them right there. Thanks for the post!

  11. Beth says:

    B- BEAUTIFUL post! As my hubby just finished up his 1L year TODAY, I have to say you brilliantly summed up so many of the thoughts that ensued through the year! :) WONDERFUL! I love it. :)

  12. Dan says:

    I don’t know what law school the 1L in the article attended, but it vastly exaggerates the demands of 1L year, at least in my experience. Sure, it was a lot more challenging than undergrad, and I spent more time studying than I did in the past, but there is NO WAY I could spend all day studying, even if I wanted to. That’s completely absurd.

    That’s not to say that my relationship with my fiancee did not suffer somewhat, when I had to study for finals and spend less time with her, but nothing even close to what is described here.

  13. J says:

    You’re lucky, in that you went into this with your eyes wide open. Most of the divorces I saw when I was in law school were of couples who had been married a while, and were used to the way their lives were. Law school is very different from everything else, and if you don’t consistently view it as a temporary situation, there will be problems. You sound like you’ve addressed this.

    I, too, got married at the beginning of law school. We had been living together a while, and my spouse used the time to be heavily involved in a hobby group. I also made sure that I had a study schedule, and scheduled time off. I can’t overemphasize how important that last point is: scheduled time off.

    A few things you might NOT be aware of —
    1. Studying for the bar exam is especially stressful, and will test both of you. It’s also temporary. Just concentrate on passing, so you never have to go through the experience again.
    2. Your spouse will be a vegetable for about 2 weeks after taking the bar. Plan a low-brain activity vacation, like a week at a lake house or the beach, or just disconnecting the phone and going for daily bike rides.
    3. It will then take about a year for your spouse to get their life back in order. I myself faced several years’ worth of stuff in my office, everything from mail-order catalogs, to notes on interesting books to read, etc. My entire life had been on hold, even my personality, it seemed.
    4. You will then face the experience of working in the legal field. That’s too big a topic to go into here.

  14. Bob says:

    I started law school married, and have made it through law school married. There were some times it was trying but that’s true of any marriage. If you commit to making it through you will make it. End of story.

  15. Law School Wife says:

    Dan, my husband does not spend all day studying. He does regular stuff, watches basketball, goes for a run, goes out to eat. He does a good job at treating law school like a FT job, and spends a lot of time on the evenings/weekends doing regular non-work activities. But it is hard for him to turn off the list of things he has to do in his head during unstructured time, which I guess for him feels kind of “wasted,” which is why even when he’s watching TV, his books are never far away, even if just for commercial breaks. My point is that there is always more any given student *could* be doing, if they wanted to. Thankfully, my husband doesnt’ want to! But I know more than a few students, at my husband’s school and at several other campuses, who spend literally all day on campus, either in class or at a scheduled event, and then at the library through the evenings. That’s pretty extreme, but it happens. If not to me, then to other law school spouses.

  16. Lindsay says:

    For all of you who disagree with my posts, you have to understand a couple of things. 1. I did not ask for things that the firm was not giving others. I merely told the person handling associates that my wife was coming to town on certain dates and I would like to participate on those dates and for that reason I was given those things during the time she was visiting.
    2. At the firm I was at, and received an offer of employment from, the firm offered tickets to certain events throughout the summer, I asked for tickets to those events during the time my wife was in town.
    3. Asking for things related to your spouse are not a no-no, if you are asking for a reasonable accommodation.
    4. If your firm does not send associates to concerts, or other events then don’t ask, but most firms do send associates to these things or did when I was in school. I checked with the hiring coordinator at my old firm and they still do the things I discussed. I am now in-house and we have no summer associates at all.
    5. I asked if I could have a week off to spend with my wife and the firm agreed. I did this at the time I accepted the offer for summer employment.
    6. If you don’t ask what are the parameters, you will never know what they are.
    7. Because I took the time to ask about things, worked hard and spent time with partners at events, I was invited to a couple of parties that were limited to 3 or 4 associates out of a group of 35.
    8. I was always in the office at 7:00 to 7:30 am and left after 9:00 pm.
    9. You need to know your organization, and the only way you do that is by asking questions and getting involved. Learn about a partners likes and dislikes, go to the jazz clubs they go to.
    10. It is not all about work, it is about getting to know the firm and the partners to determine your fit, and the things I suggested tell you a lot about the firm. I have been out 10 years now, and my old firm continues to grow and still follows the same rules.
    11. And as to ACTUAL EMPLOYEES, my firm got tickets to a concert (set up a vip tent) and provided transportation because an actual employee mentioned that he and several other employees were taking summer associates to a concert, the firm then ponied up and made it an event for everyone. This was done with less than 10 days notice. I guess some firms are just better than others or some employees are more in tune with what the firm will or won’t do. And by the way the employees who started this are all partners at the firm currently.
    Maybe my experience was not the same as others, but I had no stigma, got the job, and got to be in on a lot of stuff from the beginning that other associates did not. So to the naysayers i say, I speak from experience and you speak from ____.

  17. Daisy says:

    Lindsay- While your actions might have been (and sound like the were) fairly acceptable in your firm’s culture at the time, times have changed. The behavior you describe sound selfish and entitled – in today’s cut-throat competition for fewer jobs, singling yourself out as someone seeking “reasonable accomodations” (which, by the way, as a summer associate, they needn’t accomodate you at all- they are paying you to do work, end of story) is just that- singling yourself out, and it isn’t because you didn’t leave until after 9:00 every night. Firms are cutting back on the “summer perks” more and more, and I think it is highly improper to try and get the firm to pony up for your spouse’s evening as well. My advice to ALL summer associates is that unless an invitation specifically includes significant others, do yourself a favor and attend solo or not at all. Unless of course you want to be That Guy.

  18. Sarah says:

    You were me 5 years, 2 children and 1 bar exam ago. We got married. We celebrated our first anniversary by my husband being accepted to law school the same day we found out I was pregnant. (The pregnancy was a surprise–I had been told I couldn’t have children.) I soooo remember the “initiation” for spouses where it was suggested that I might not be there at graduation. Being newly married myself, I laughed. However, one presenter said something that I will NEVER forget. He said, “The skills that make a good attorney are the opposite of the skills necessary to be a good husband. For example, creating a good argument–attorneys are in it to WIN it etc.” This comment was HELPFUL. I wish I remember who he was…I would send him a thank you card.

    The first year, in my not-the-student mind was all about learning a language. Being introduced to the law, writing briefs and learning the language of “legalese”. Don’t laugh, when your husband uses a “legalese” word during a “discussion” with you, you will know he is fluent. The second and third year was all about getting DEEP into what an attorney really does. For me, that was where the comment about in it to WIN it came in.

    For this reason, I think the second and third years were more challenging. However, we had to content with a sick child (baby #1 had SERIOUS health issue), I was the sole source of family finances (I ended up starting my own company), oh, and law school. I bring this up to say, you are wise. You are wise to take a look at different pitfalls that might arise. You are wise to be continually looking at what is coming next.

    During the second/third year my law-school-student took an extremely demanding job that took him away from home. We STILL managed to have another child.

    The last year was all about getting done. Ahhh…but then *drum roll* the Bar Exam. Basically just know that he will NOT be around for 2 months before it. However, I just kept telling myself that I would rather have him study hard once than twice. HE PASSED. Now he is looking for a job in the worst economy ever. We have been through fire and this…this too will be added to the “law school memories” at some point.

    But, yes, we do exist. Marriages that made it through law school. We might have some houses to tear down like what the Moosh in Indy says, but we exist and are looking to the future. A future with NO LAW SCHOOL! Just lots of Associate hours…

  19. Kristen says:


    Where were you 3 years ago when I had a miserable 1L on my hands!? :) I am reading this now in my free time (where I’d most likely be stalking friends on Facebook otherwise) as the wife of a newly graduated JD who has been studying for the Bar Exam since the middle of May. I am 8 months pregnant (due September) and completely overwhelmed by all that this summer has to offer. It’s really hard to keep all the “not fair! ‘s” from falling out of my mouth as I’m doing dishes, laundry, picking up socks off of the floor, visiting friends and family by myself, going to dr’s appts. by myself, etc.

    I think if I have any one piece of advice it would be to not take anything personally–not during those awful final exam periods, not during times when you can barely afford groceries, and not during that summer of the bar exam. I keep looking for the light at the end of this tunnel and I remember that my “pumpkin” will turn back into a prince at the end. I can’t take his grumpiness, his apathy, or his sloppy behavior personally.

    Thanks for this post–it made me feel validated for the first time in a long time as a “law school widow.”

  20. Randall Ryder says:

    I think it is very important that people realize life after law school is different, but not night and day different. Practicing law is certainly different from law school, and in many ways, much more stressful.

    If your significant other handles stress during law school by withdrawing, making excuses, and otherwise being absentee, that is setting a very bad precedent for what will happen after law school.

  21. Amelia says:

    You might want to mention that depression when they aren’t at the very top of their class like they were in their undergrad. Also mention that just ALMOST making it on law review is not the same as making it on law review.
    Mention the depressing job market.
    Mention the fantastic job he turned down just to go to law school.
    The second year is not easier on the law student. A lot more pressure handling externships, journals and job searches.
    I really hope it gets better. Sounds like your husband is getting what he hoped from the experience, but mine is sometimes pretty stressed and depressed.
    We are committed to our relationship so there’s no fear or worry there, it just makes looking forward to the future not as exciting as we once thought.

  22. Dannielle says:

    My boyfriend is studying for the July 2012 bar exam and I feel like I’m going to go nuts (and I’m not even the one taking the exam)! Does anyone know of a blog or chat for significant others of people prepping for the July 2012 exam? I need to vent to someone and it obviously can’t be him! I need to sympathize with others in my situation.

    • Brittany says:

      Hi Dannielle–my husband is studying for the bar now, too! So far things aren’t brutal at my house, so the only thing I could personally recommend is to not let it consume 110% of your life (going for both the studier and the non-studier–I’ll pick up some new hobbies this summer if/when my husband goes off the deep end and I plan on visiting out-of-town friends and relatives a few extra weekends as exam gets closer). I’m probably the opposite of an expert on bar taking, but as a human I think it’s important to give the brain space to relax sometimes–have a beer, go out to eat, take the dog for walks. I don’t like the “don’t do a single thing but study/ignore everyone in your life” advice. I think it’s a perfect way to get burned out and freak yourself out more than you would otherwise. I’m not blogging anymore, but my friend DaisyJD has some tips for loved ones (she and her husband took the bar at different times, so this is stuff that worked for them): Good luck!

      • heather says:

        I understand you. Do you want to e-mail me?

        • Kalyn RoseAnne says:

          Hey Heather. I see that this comment was 4 years ago, but I figure I’ll take a long shot and see if you’re still available to email. My boyfriend is a 1L and studying for his first exams. I moved to a new town to be here with him and I don’t know people here yet, but I really need to be able to talk to someone who understands this very particular struggle. So if you see this and you’d be willing to write, let me know! Thank you.

          • Megan says:

            Hi Kalyn! I, like you just stumbled across this thread and am about to be the significant other of a brand new L1 as of tomorrow. You have a bit of a head start on me, but I’d love to keep in touch so we have someone else to vent to! Trying to go in as open as possible, this thread has seriously helped but any guidance would be welcomed :)

    • Treasure says:

      I’m in a similar position, boyfriend cloistered in the basement, hitting the books (sometimes too) hard and maybe getting a scosh grumpy. He actually sent me a link to this conversation. I don’t know of a blog or chat. Perhaps you should start one! It might be a good way to follow Brittany’s great advice and get yourself busy. That’s what I’m doing. I have positively packed my Summer with fun stuff to do and made sure he knows he’s welcome when he can make it. I say do what you can to make sure you’re available when he needs you while engaging in this somewhat loony Lawyer come Attorney ritual. But do the same with the time that he is and make it about growing on your own! Here in a couple of months you can be an Attorney and an girlfriend well versed in the intracacies of lace making or ya know mountain climbing ;) It’s all about the long view, remember that guy you swear is growing green fur and beginning to smell like he’s moved into a trash can – from which he pops occasionally simply to make snarky comments – will be gone soon enough!

      Seriously though, if you start a chat or blog let me know, because I’d be lying if I said I don’t need a mo’ to vent sometimes!

    • heather says:

      hello, I am in the same situation. BF is studying ike there is no tommmorow, he feels very depressed, he tells me he was never as bad as he is now. Do you guys want to share e-mail adresses and start chatting with each other about our experience? It is very hard to be a significant other of bar examinee.

      do you want to e0mail me?

  23. Brendt says: . It has nothing to do with spouses or the bar exam. But, the title and the posters are fitting for the situation.

  24. Tom Stubbs says:

    When my wife was studying for the bar, I was living in the D.C. area. Every week, a friend would read a book or portion of a book about a nearby (W.Va., Va., Md., Pa.) Civil War battle. Over the weekend, he and I would go visit the battlefield site. I stayed out of my wife’s hair and had a good time. Replace Civil War battlefields with whatever floats your boat, find a friend, and go!

  25. Jessica says:

    Dannielle – I am in the same position and have been looking for something/anything because no one can relate! There really needs to be some kind of support group/site/blog for the significant others/non-bar takers to commiserate! You are not alone!!!

  26. Lee Burgess says:

    To all those bar exam significant others out there — we totally get that you are struggling having to live with a loved one who is studying for the bar exam. Please check out our post for some sympathy and suggestions.

    Realizing that there are many significant others out there who may want a space to talk about their partners (without judgment), we are holding a Twitter Chat on Wednesday, June 27th at 8:00pm EST/5:00pm PST where significant others of bar takers can come together and feel the support of the community. Join us! Hashtag #barexamtools

  27. Elena says:

    Okay so I figure I need someone to talk to because if not I will go CRAZY. I saw this website a week ago and didn’t comment but tonight (eastern time) I desperately need to talk to people who are dating a bar exam victim. If anyone is in NYC and wants to mutually assist each other in getting through this please don’t hesitate to let me know. :)

  28. Marie says:

    I can relate, but I have to say, I’m still adjusting, still finding it hard to accept that now I have to count the minutes we get to have quality time. And yes, it’s minutes…not even an hour or a few hours…

  29. heather says:

    hello, I am in the same situation. BF is studying ike there is no tommmorow, he feels very depressed, he tells me he was never as bad as he is now. Do you guys want to share e-mail adresses and start chatting with each other about our experience? It is very hard to be a significant other of bar examinee.

  30. U Khan says:

    I was told the same thing when I started law school! Only my husband had just started medical school, so two intense schools, lucky we were away so that we kept out of each other’s hairs. I had been told if you can survive the first year of law/medical school, then your marriage is solid, 16 years later, I believe we can get through anything together!

  31. Kyla says:

    Thanks for this letter. My husband and I (married a year) just relocated across the country so he could start law school. The semester hasn’t even started yet but he’s spent everyday these past two weeks in the library working on his summer reading list. Needless to say, I am freaking out inside- between moving to a new state, not being able to find work, and being a new graduate myself- so many changes to deal with!

    • Brittany says:

      Hi Kyla–You’re welcome! Don’t freak yourself out. There is so much
      doom and gloom about law school and relationships and I think most of it
      is totally unfounded. It’s just life–if you didn’t have this unique
      set of challenges, you’d have another. My husband graduated from law
      school over a year ago and things are still great. I love the comment
      below from mglickman–it really does all come down to priorities and
      finding a balance between the demands of school and the demands of life.
      The first year of law school is the hardest, in my experience, in that
      your student is trying to figure out how hard they have to study in
      order to do as well as they hope, etc., and everyone’s adjusting to all
      the change. But once you get the hang of it, it really got very easy and
      comfortable for us and I think it does for most, and as graduation
      approached, I was nervous things would change for the worse! (It didn’t,
      even when he took the bar in two different states in one year.) Funny
      how that works. Good luck on your job hunt–the next three years will fly.

  32. Leah says:

    Thank you SO much for this blog. My boyfriend and I have been living together for a year and he just started law school a month ago. Weekends are the hardest. He’s home… But not really. I feel guilty leaving to go out and enjoy my time but I also feel like I’m a constant distraction who has to walk on egg shells when I’m home. So many adjustments. You made me feel a little less crazy.

  33. JustMe says:

    Thank you so much for this blog, I am going through the same thing. Married one year and a year later he’s in law school. Moving to a new city far from family and friends. Its a difficult pill to swallow especially when it feels like he’s moving on with his own ‘thing’ meeting new people and being immersed in school. Can’t help feel like i’m being left behind after i’ve sacrified so much (leaving a job I liked, and my family).

  34. Kevin B says:

    I have been married for four years. I am still in the thinking process of possibly taking on law school and already have an AAS in Business Administration. My wife graduates shortly to become a registered nurse. I want to do this because I have noticed that I am pretty good in the courtroom. I am also very nervous about this because I also have a 6 year old daughter at home. I love my wife and daughter with all of my heart. Should I worry about this? What are some suggestions?

  35. Elana shapiro says:

    Thank you for this it’s nice to read about someone going through the same thing

  36. We've Almost Made It! says:

    My husband and I have been married seven years. He took his last-ever final exam this morning. Wow, what a terrible experience this has been. I don’t think we were fully prepared for the toll this journey was going to take on us individually and as a couple. Just a few months ago, shortly after he started his very last semester, our relationship went from shaky to practically nonexistent. We separated for a month and a half and were preparing for divorce. This was a very dark time for both of us. On Valentine’s Day, we sat at a Denny’s, after having fought all day long, to civilly divide our marital assets. With our anniversary quickly approaching, I was devastated. We both sat and cried. For me in that moment, I realized that the life we had built together over the course of those seven years was one that I didn’t want to lose. I believe he had come to the same realization. I didn’t move back into our home right away, but I did a few weeks later. I can honestly say that we are at a better point in our relationship than we were before he started law school. This has been the most trying time for us, even harder than his deployment to Iraq, but we have made it. I, too, know of couples that have split or divorced due to the stresses of law school. It saddens me, because we were at that point just a few short months ago. My advice to any couple on this journey is to not stop being friends. Don’t stop talking to each other. I know time is together is limited during law school, but making time for each other is invaluable. Try to do something fun together every once in a while. Finally, don’t be ashamed if you feel the need for some couples therapy, and don’t wait on couples therapy until it is too late. If I could go back to day one of this journey, I would do so many things differently, but the advice above would be at the top of my list. Before our split, we were strangers. I had no idea what was going on with him, and he didn’t know what was going on with me. Now, I can say that we are quickly becoming the best friends we were when we first got married. The wounds that this experience has caused will take time to heal. We both hurt from this, and we both hurt each other. I do truly believe, however, that we are on our way to becoming better than ever as a couple. I am so thankful that the end is near. The last hurdle to jump is the BAR. After that, I hope that our life can reach some sort of normalcy, whatever that means. Good luck to those in law school and especially the couples that are going through this. I wish you all the very best.

  37. Alyssa Camp says:

    It’s nice to have read this and to feel connected to someone having gone through the same thing. My husband is working full time and taking classes at Cooley Law at night. He’s in a part-time program. He’s a 2L. I’m at home with our three year old and I just want to see the light at the end of the tunnel and I know he does too.
    Thank you!

  38. engineering student w/lawman says:

    so…what you’re saying is to just put up with it? So, I can take on any type of personal endeavor and just tell my partner to hang in there until I’m done with it? Shit..I should go find myself on the road or maybe move in with some sexually threatening friends and never see my partner. It’s only temporary :) It’s for my self-improvement! That’s dumb as hell. Engineering is no easy task and can be more significant and full of responsibility, but we don’t get the go ahead to neglect the ones we love. Loved. I’m going to genetically engineer a better excuse.

  39. KLanae says:

    So I just googled “law school wife” for a little support boost. We have been married since 2011 and law school started in 2013. We had 6 years to be together before law school and it didn’t really make it any easier. (So don’t sweat it newlyweds) today my husband/law student and I are 1/2 way done. 3 semesters more to go, one summer internship and the BAR exam and were free. 15 mo ths until graduation. I moved to Napa from Sacramento after his first year to furthur my career, honestly now that we only see each other on the weekends I can’t really feel the difference. I have friends, hobbies and my work. I agree with this post for managing a law school marriage. Adjust expectations, fill your time so you’re thinking about all the time with out him and try to remind yourself to help each other through it all. It helps to make the most of what little time you do have together, don’t waste it onarguingbover dishes. 15 more months.

  40. Ex-3Lwife says:

    This was my story too— and even a similar article I submitted with my fiancée until the fall of 3L. The law changes them. Heed the warnings– your partner may be different but do not allow law school to be the excuse for red flags. They only get worse

  41. A says:

    Thank you so much for the blog! My husband recently sprung on me that he wants to go to law school and I’m not going to lie, the thought scares me, because we are going to have to uproot everything… the new house we just bought, our time together, current jobs, salaries… still not sure how that one will work itself out. But your blog helped settle my nerves at least a little.

  42. Yvonne Sprinkle-Ryan says:

    So how do you handle when the spouse moves away to law school? 1000+ miles?

  43. Wife of a 1L with kids says:

    So I have a similar situation but one major difference. We have a 5 and 2 year old and I am currently due to have baby3 in 3 days and my husband just started school. Since everyone is so for and doesn’t have kids they want to study together and go out after and he he wants to go all the time. I feel like if I am ok with it I am giving permission to ignore his family but if I am not then I am a jerk and making him miserable. We have been married 13 years and I am not willing to throw that away. It’s already taking a toll on us just with our 2 kids and now with a newborn finding a sitter with be next to impossible. I try to have his law school friends over because I do enjoy hanging out with them too but he gets stresssedcause they don’t have kids and thinks they see ours as a burden. Any suggestions how to get thru the next 3 years????

  44. Sam Glover says:

    I’m closing the comments on this post since Brittany is no longer stopping by to respond. If you want to start a new discussion about relationships during law school, please feel free to do it in the Lab:

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