My post about why it sucks to date as a female lawyer is the most popular post on this blog. But I don’t want to paint a pitiable picture of dating as a lawyer; there are also great advantages to dating as a lady lawyer. Becoming a lawyer set the stage for better relationships in my future.
My inbox’s tone has been very gentle lately. The newsletters tell me, it’s a big scary world and I shouldn’t feel bad staying in my fetal position and only resurfacing when the world is better. Drinking more wine, spending time alone, and vegging out are encouraged, perhaps even celebrated.
Most of my newsletters are directed at women. This is not a coincidence. We teach women to retreat; we men to take charge.
A money and power imbalance is why dating sucks for female lawyers. Couples often fight about money, particularly if the distribution of money is uneven. Money is a proxy for power, and power imbalances lead to disagreements.
When the Woman Earns More
Because of the pay gap, most heterosexual relationships involve a higher-earning man and a lower-earning woman. But in 29% of hetero relationships, less than 1/3, the woman out-earns the man. This figure has been increasing for decades, but is still a small minority of couples. It’s unlikely, then, that either person in a couple has experience with a higher-earning mother. The newness of this type of relationship and the high likelihood that women lawyers will be involved in such a relationship can lead to growing pains.
Being single seems like it would be an impediment to advancing in your career. For instance, a significant other can halve your chores and expenses and provide advice and support – clear benefits. For me though, being single helped advance my career. It turns out that my experience is typical for highly educated women professionals. Here are 9 ways being single can help a women’s career (or how being married/coupled can hurt it) and my experience navigating these obstacles.
There are over a billion hits for articles on how to support strong women. Maybe we can start by crushing society’s tendency to teach women to be afraid. For years now, I’ve seen articles and social media posts discussing how #yesallwomen live in constantfear of violence. This fear means women refrain from many enjoyable routine activities like exercising, going out at night, or traveling by themselves.
This idea bothers me every time I see it. The fear is grossly outsized compared with the actual risk. For example, Wikipedia states:
Although fear of crime is a concern for people of all genders, studies consistently find that women around the world tend to have much higher levels of fear of crime than men, despite the fact that in many places, and for most offenses, men’s actual victimization rates are higher. [emphasis added]
When you think of the most famous attorneys – it’s a lot of men. Even famous fictional lawyers tend to be men – Perry Mason, Atticus Finch, Bob Loblaw. But there are also a lot of great female attorneys – real and fictional. And it’s easy to forget that. So this is just a fun series to remind us of some of them, with an added personal finance twist And we’ll start with my favorite of all time.
Personal finance is different for each person, and that’s especially true for women lawyers. Factors like giant student loan debt, no work life balance, lack of financial confidence, the glass ceiling – are just a few things that make navigating finances as a woman attorney different from others.
It’s called personal finance because the principles are not universal. There are many unique financial challenges for female attorneys. If you’re a lawyer, you will likely accrue a lot of debt and no earnings while attending law school. If you’re a woman, you are likely to experience career breaks and disproportionate family burdens.
You might ask why this site focuses on women lawyers. It’s because female lawyers face unique financial challenges that male lawyers or women in other professions might not, due to a variety of systemic problems and societal norms. These differences are not necessarily night and day from other people’s experiences, but it’s different enough to warrant different advice. Below I explain some of the financial challenges for female attorneys.