September 25, 2005

Share your experiences; support and be supported

I've been playing around with this idea since the spring of 2004 -- when our second child turned a month old, and my husband got his acceptance letter from Temple's Beasley School of Law.

"Oh," and "Shit," pretty much summed my feelings up.

While I was excited for him to continue his education, happy that he got into his first choice of schools, and I accepted the fact that he needed an advanced degree to move forward in his career, I was scared as Hell. After all, working full-time during the day, and going to classes full-time in an evening program, meant a lot of work for both of us. Basically, he would leave at 6 AM on Monday morning, and we'd see him again when he got home on Friday nights.

Oh, sure -- he'd be home to sleep and eat...but when would we have "family time?" Who'd be there to help when the kids got sick, or when I was about to lose my MIND due to stress? What about the kids -- would they miss him? Would they turn out to be completely resentful, ill-behaved little beasts with no fatherly infulence for four years? What if I got sick? What about my teaching career? When would I get to sleep in, or take a night off, or just go out on a date?

All of these questions, plus a few dozen more -- plus the new ones we come up with every day -- are why I wanted to start this blog.

If you're married, law school and its attendant headaches affect BOTH of you, for good or for ill. It's compounded by trying to work while you attend law school -- even more so if you have children (no matter what their ages).

This blog is meant to not only relate my experiences as a law school widow -- what works and doesn't, fears and victories -- but to act as a venting place for other law school spouses who sometimes feel like they've earned the right to have that "Juris Doctor" tattoed on their behinds, as well.

post yuor stories, your experiences, your fears and hopes, and get some support and feedback from others in the same position!

Posted by jspaulding at September 25, 2005 11:08 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Share your experiences; support and be supported:

» Blawg Review #25 from ambivalent imbroglio
War on porn is “a running joke” at the FBI. [Read More]

Tracked on September 26, 2005 07:53 AM

» lawyers and spouses from f/k/a . . . .
Thanks to [Read More]

Tracked on September 27, 2005 12:51 AM


This is an important topic and I'm glad you've started the weblog. I hope you get more than venting in your Comments.

I've been thinking about lawyer spouses lately and came across two books that might be of interest to your readers: (1) Should You Marry a Lawyer?, by Fiona Travis, PhD (Niche Press 2003), and (2) Living with Lawyers, by Frances M. Weiner, et al. (Quarry Publishing, 2001).

Posted by: david giacalone at September 26, 2005 09:47 AM

Oh, great books!

I'm hoping to generate a few more contriubutors, to get some different perspectives. I can give the "married with 2 small children" view, but there are lots of others out there.

Posted by: jspaulding at September 26, 2005 10:44 AM

Great idea!

I, too, am involved with someone at Temple Law.

But it's a little easier for me; I'm a practicing lawyer, and went through law school myself not long ago.

Here's a hint, unfortunate though it may be: law school will change people, but not as much as they tell you (assuming you married someone of stern character and boundless optimism and good humor; they will be changed but not deranged by it all). But, that's not the worst of it.

Being with a lawyer can be worse than being with a law student. Law students have stress, but they're students. They work hard, they think in strange ways, but they're not working for a living (one hopes). Lawyers, in contrast, can be a very odd breed. Post-law students, they have all of the quibbles and argumentativeness and arrogance (or none, again it depends on the quality of the individual), but they also have something else: a job.

One last word of warning: the Bar Exam. Don't worry about it now. Neither should your husband. Nevertheless, when it comes, batten down the hatches. I stressed over first year exams, over finding a job (advice: don't sweat it), over papers and motions and appellate arguments for class. Studying for the bar exam was the worst, and it imposed a new and worse strain on my then-relationship.

It'll be interesting to be on the other end of the same situation, when my s.o. goes through the bar review process.

I wish you the best of luck, and will check up on this blawg periodically.

(link found from Blawg Review)

Posted by: anon at September 26, 2005 11:45 AM

Not only was I a law spouse, I married a law spouse. Well, kind of. My husband and I were courting before and after I took the bar, and then we got married half-way through his 3rd year. I also lived with my grandmother - a former law spouse - during law school. She claimed to have "a law degree by proxy".

I will claim to have taught my husband everything he needed to know about Texas Oil & Gas law in about 2 hours the night before the bar exam.

Posted by: The Mommy Blawger at September 27, 2005 12:15 AM

Hello! I'm newly engaged to a JD who is about to begin studying for the CA Bar. Scared as HECK! I myself have two children under the age of 10 that are not biologically his. We all just moved in with each other in May so still very much in the "adjusting" mode. I've pretty much resigned myself to the fact that he'll be unavailable for the next few months, but I do want to know how to support him through this. Any suggestions? My life is pretty stressful as it is working f/t and dealing with therapies and tutoring for my two kids (both have special needs)... I am USED to be single but he is not used to having kids around while studying. Advice, suggestions, whatever is much appreciated. :-)

Posted by: sdc78 at October 12, 2005 07:55 PM

Hi everyone- Ive been searching for a message board ro some other surce of advice abotu this subject, very happy to see this! I am not yet a law widow, but myhusband (we got married last month) is applying for school this winter, LSAT is in December. He has a very good chance at getting in, and I am really stressing out about being able to handle it! here si our situation- I am starting my wn career anew,I wa sin film but I have Chronic fatigue immune dysfunction syndrome- so I am starting over in illustration. We really want a child in 2-3 years which would be his 3 or 4th year. he will work full time for 3 of the 4 years. We d not want to wait to have a child until he is done because of my health/will be easier sooner. I am worried about a few things- 1. how will I ever deal with everythng? if we only have him around one day a week, will this be ok for a baby's well being?
2. So far I feel like everyone expecxts me, being the non-law student, to automatically give up everything for his degree. While I am willing to give upa alot, I dont feel its right to give up my new career. Am I being unreasonable?

sigh- well, You guys probably think this si silly since he hasnt even gotten into school yet, but I feel veyr lost and scared to death! Hearing that others have been able to figure out things and handle the situation helps my confidence that we will be able to figure it out. Thanks for any advice etc!!!!!!!

Posted by: amanda at October 27, 2005 02:22 PM

My wife of 3 years recently went back to law school. She's now in her 1st year and has been predictably unavailable as her first semester finals approach. We have no children but are planning to have them in her 3rd year or after law school. I am a busy person as well, so we are used to not seeing each other for days on end. I am resigned to the fact that we will live a hectic lifestyle for the next couple years, and that the payoff for both of us will be great. I will have extra time to advance my career goals and she will be on a career track that will allow her to eventually work from home, if need be.

My issues right now seem to be a slight disconnect in relating to each other. She is all consumed by the issues of law and her studies, while I am not privy nor interested in law at all. This leads to a struggle to find the right conversations sometimes. I am sure everyone's been through it. Also, sex has become less frequent, what with time, stress and long study hours getting in the way.

I am glad you created this blog, and will check back in for comments from time to time. Thank You for hearing me out.

Posted by: nyhusband at November 29, 2005 12:58 PM

Mike and I started dating last July, right after he finished summer school at ASU. He's a 2Y, but with summer school he'll have his JD a semester early. While it has only been a few months, we have dealt with most of the deal-breakers and such and hope to get married after he passes the bar.
From day 1 of our relationship, he made it very clear that school was his number 1 priority and that I would probably be the very definition of a law school widow, especially during finals. His first final is the day after tomorrow (might I also add that my birthday is tomorrow) and, despite all of his warnings, I have not felt very deprived. Granted, all semester we have had times where we only saw each other once or twice a week, which has been hard, but no worse than most relationships (it also helps that I work full time and know how to cook, so he'll take time out from studying and have a home-cooked meal instead of a hot dog or PB&J)...
Anyways, despite the fact that my birthday is getting delayed and that he has 5 finals over the next week and a half, we have managed to work out our issues and our time together usually consists of my quizzing him over something or just sitting and reading together. I just figured Christmas break is going to be our reward. We have had to adapt our relationship to his situation and I'm sure that, once he is done, it will be difficult to be the wife of a lawyer. I am naturally not a very clingy person, nor do I demand much attention from my boyfriend, so perhaps we are an exception to the adage, "No relationship survives law school". So, wish us luck, as I will do for the rest of you suffering along with me. :-)

Posted by: Steph at December 5, 2005 09:29 PM


My spouse was accepted to SMU in Dallas. We live in Houston. She is doing the evening program. We have been together only a year. So still love being around each other and I don't see that changing!

So, we have to move. Which is fine we both favor Dallas.

I don't know what to expect. But, we have an understanding if it hurts our relationship than we stop and re-evaluate. We plan to live close to campus, so we have an a couple of hours before bed time.

We are considering even letting her work part-time so we can see each other at lunch.

We both agreed to it because in 4 years we can really work on being together in business.

I plan on keeping busy by working on a real estate license as well as my CMA.
I know it will be hard but I think if we communicate the whole way through it may make it easier.
I guess we shall see!

Posted by: LLL at April 19, 2006 10:16 AM

My boyfriend is just about to graduate from law school and in about a month he will start studying for the bar exam. We have had the talk about how I will basically not see him for the next few months and I know it will be a very hard time for him...especially since it's the CA bar. I was just wondering if anyone had any suggestions on what I could do to help him out or if I should know anything about what to expect. We have been dating for almost a year and I really think our relationship can make it through this...if anyone has advice I would really appreciate it.

Posted by: Melodi at April 19, 2006 01:45 PM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)