Engagement and Marriage in Law School

posted 3 years ago in Engagement
Post # 16
Member
84 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

I’m a 2008 law school grad. While I didn’t get engaged or married during law school, many of my friends did. To be honest, life after 1L wasn’t any more crazy than life as a new attorney. Plus, IMO, it would be much more enjoyable planning for a wedding before you feel the strain of repaying law school loans (it’s a dark cloud that feels like it will never ever go away), assuming you have the savings or financial help to pay for the wedding.

That being said, you are so young. I also know plenty of people who entered law school in a long term relationship, and left law school without it. Not saying anything about your relationship particularly, but it is a time of great change and transition and I wouldn’t want the added stress of a new engagement on top of that. I would wait to get engaged until after 1L, get married in the summer after 2L. And plan on doing most of it yourself.

Additionally, I’m a 33 year old bride who will be returning from my wedding and delayed honeymoon to a rental. I don’t see the big deal in that either…

Post # 17
Hostess
3812 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

lkm2883:  Very good point.  The only other person I knew who was engaged during law school was not in that relationship by the time school ended.  I disagree that life as a new attorney is more crazy, but I’m a government attorney with pretty reasonable hours vs. being involved in a ton of extracurriculars + internships while in law school; I imagine if OP’s SO goes into BigLaw, his experience will be quite different.  I’ve personally enjoyed planning the wedding without school and the bar exam looming over my head.

Post # 18
Member
3195 posts
Sugar bee

My little brother and his girlfriend met in undergrad, and have been dating for a few years now. They’re both in law school (Columbia and Harvard). It’s super stressful and they see each other when they can, and decided to hold off on an engagement or marriage until after law school. 

Post # 19
Member
138 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

Can you get married before he starts law school?  That seems ideal.  I’ll say that I had way more free time as a law student than I did as a new attorney (its not even comparable).  The first year of law school is really stressful though and there is a lot of pressure.   He should have internships during his summers so it might be difficult to do it then but I seem to recall having two weeks off or so at the end of the summer.  I think a September wedding after the first year would be a great time as classes aren’t very stressful yet.  Or maybe a winter wedding in the second year after finals are over?  I definitely think it is doable and in most ways, better than trying to get married when he is a new associate.

Post # 20
Member
458 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2016 - Hunting Hill Mansion

My 2 cents: I decided that I didn’t want to wait to get married for a few years, as was our original plan. We got engaged in Feb 2015 (during my gap year in between undergrad and law school) and didn’t plan on getting married until Fall 2017 because I knew 1L would be absolutely insane (little did I know!! I was still not prepared for that wild ride lol). So we moved it to Fall 2016 because I am a brat and wanted to be married to the love of my life asap haha.

I was so wrapped up in school I esentially didn’t plan a thing. I focused on school 100%. But I am VERY fortunate that I was able to tell my parents and Fiance (and wedding coordinator) that I just simply couldn’t worry about the wedding until the semester was over. Best decision I ever made. I trusted them to handle the execution of “my vision” and everything worked out fine. I am also not a picky bride at all.

So it is POSSIBLE but not EASY. To be blunt, if you’ve got the resources ($$) to make it happen, you’ll be fine — and I say that because I did zero DIY, hired a person to handle all the details, and didn’t really worry about the budget, etc. If I liked something, I was able to just say “wrap it up!” and that made it waaaaaaaay less stressful. I hope that doesn’t come across as rude….. but I definitely think it made a BIG difference.

 

EDIT: I am also VERY involved in school with extracirriculars as a part of the Student Bar Association so I really had my hands full all year long. 

  • This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by  emilypaige.
Post # 21
Member
161 posts
Blushing bee

nicole72994:  My fiancé is finishing law school in 2017, we are getting married 2018. The big thing for us was to purchase a home before getting married and we did that in 2012 (before he started law school). He has been lucky paying off law school because after 1L he got a paid summer internship for Formula One in the UK, which helped him pay off his first year, then in Toronto they do a 2L recruit for the summer and he got a job with a firm on Bay Street so now he’s paying off his second year and will be with the same firm after 3L (for articling). 

If he was not so lucky with getting law jobs, we probably wouldn’t be engaged or even getting married in 2018. We figure by August 2018 he will be a first year associate and hopefully paid off all his student debt. It’s important for us not to enter marriage with a huge chunk of debt. We’ve been together for almost 10 years now, we’ve set priorities and I’m happy with how everything has turned out so far. Do what works for you and your fiance!

Post # 22
Member
386 posts
Helper bee

nicole72994:  I just graduated law school in May. Currently, I’m studying for two bar exams. 

First, 1L year was the worst. Beyond being difficult work wise, it was difficult adjustment wise. Professors don’t want to be a friend in law school, unlike in undergrad. Get an A? Great. Get a D? Okay. The responsibility falls onto the student to seek out the professor to ask questions, get advice, or study tips. My 1L year, I only had one midterm (worth 10%) in one class and all of my finals, besides the one I had the midterm in, were worth 100% of my grade. I began studying for my exams between 4-5 weeks out and the exams themselves are 4 hour timed exams. It’s an absolute brain dump of a test. Most people take a day off between studying for exams, but some people can’t because of the exam schedule, which you don’t get to choose yourself. There were times that i was at school from 7 AM to midnight during finals. 

1L summer is difficult in another way. Most people, unless they’re on law review (top 10% of the class), do public interest jobs which don’t pay. That’s 10 weeks over the summer of full time work without a pay check. Some people take up second jobs as servers or bartenders to make rent. Most 1L’s won’t get job offers from their 1L summer jobs, it’s just used for networking. 

2L year was the busiest. Now that professors know that students can handle the work, they give more of it. On top of more work, some will choose to work during the semester (but under 20 hours under ABA rules), clerk, or work in a clinic. Most clubs at my school allow 2Ls to be on the executive boards, so add that to the mix. Also, 2L year is when most students take the MPRE, which is the legal ethics exam. Each state has a particular passing score, which determines whether the person can be an attorney in that state. Even if they pass the bar exam, but don’t pass the MPRE, they can’t practice. I studied for the MPRE for two weeks before the exam took place and fortunately passed my first time. I have friends who still haven’t passed and have taken it multiple times. 

The 2L summer is when most people get a paying job. I received only $5000 for ten weeks, which after taxes was closer to $750 a pay period. This is also the time that most associates are busting their asses to get an offer at the end of the summer. If you’re in big law, and don’t get an offer, it’s essentially a death kiss onto your resume becuase other firms will see that you didn’t get an offer and will ask why. 

Both 1L and 2L summers people accept jobs at places that they might not be interested in because it’s a job. Nobody is picky during this time because law studnets have to have two jobs on their resume in order to find a job after graduation. 

3L year is the most intense because at this point it’s a countdown until the year is over. I clerked with a judge during the first semester, which meant traveling 30 minutes, paying for parking/the train, working for a few hours a few times a week, then going  back to school to attend class. I worked in the law school’s clinic the second semester which was a 6 credit class meaning I’d be putting 20 hours a week into the clinic at a minimum. I easily put in closer to 40 hours a week during the last few weeks. Before graduating, we have to apply to whatever state to take their bar exam, which involves a really exhaustive application process- think listing all of your jobs for the past ten years or since you were 18, listing every address you’ve ever lived at, getting finger prints taken, getting recommendations (and those recommendtors have to recommend others to recommend you), paying for the exams which is easily close to $1200, and on top of that paying for a commercial bar prep program to help prepare for the bar. My program cost $3200. 

During bar prep (which I’m going through right now), don’t expect him to come home in a good mood or even until late at night. I’m at school from 8:30 AM to around 6:30 PM with my phone and internet turned off (unless I’m taking a break). The entire day is spent reading, highlighting, completing practice questions, getting most of them wrong, writing essays, getting low grades on the essays, and then panicking because it feels impossible to remember evertyhing the exam wants you to remember. 

Oh, and on top of that, I’m signing a lease for a new apartment and moving in after the bar, so I’m also in the beginning stages of the packing process. 

My boyfriend and I have been dating since my 1L and his 3L years (so for two years). He went to law school and has gone through everything I’m going through now and understands that when I’m acting like a huge asshole that it’s not personal and it’s just bargression. We’re planning on getting engaged after I take the bar because that’s how much focus needs to go into this test. 

If I sound rude or really pessimisstic, I’m just being honest. In my opinion, a lot of couples who have one person go into law school usually don’t last past the first year because it’s such a selfish mistress. It’s incredibly demanding, way more demanding than undergrad or a master’s degree, and unless they’ve gone through it, or they’re in medical school and understand the pressure, it can lead to a lot of hurt feelings or feelings of neglect. 

I understand that you really want to be engaged, but I highly suggest waiting until after he takes the bar exam. There’s really no other time that he can take off because the ABA has some pretty strict attendance rules and if more than that amount is missed, it’s usually an automatic failure for the class. Don’t jepordize his law school career because you feel antsy, it’s not worth it.  

Post # 23
Hostess
3812 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: November 2016

futurebrideesq:  You’re 100% right.  I’m totally having a flashback to my life two years ago!  My sister got married a week after the bar and in that week, I moved and threw her bridal shower.  Good luck with your bar studies!

  • This reply was modified 3 years, 2 months ago by  missinthecity.
Post # 24
Member
138 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2016

Good luck futurebrideesq!  It was years ago but I distinctly remember throwing up before the bar exam and crying after.  I’m sure you will do fine!

Post # 25
Member
9138 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper

One of my closest friends got engaged over Christmas of 2L and then planned her wedding to take place 3L spring break. They delayed their honeymoon and did a combined bar trip/honeymoon. I thought that worked out perfectly. She had tons of time to wedding plan during the end of 2L/beginning of 3L and had a job lined up so didn’t have to worry about that either. Then it was all over and done with by the time graduation and bar studying came around.

It was also nice for all of us to go to her wedding over 3L spring break since we too were pretty much lollygagging around until graduating.

Post # 27
Member
728 posts
Busy bee

My Fiance graduated undergrad this past May. We’re getting married this August and he starts law school a few weeks after our wedding. I graduate undergrad in December. We decided there really wasn’t going to be an ideal time to plan a wedding in the near future. Like other people said, even after law school isn’t a great time with starting our careers. We’re also tired of waiting and want to be married since we’ve been engaged over 2 years. It has been a lot finishing up our bachelor’s while planning a wedding but I’d rather deal with it now than when he’s in law school.

Leave a comment


Find Amazing Vendors