TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Advice For Two-Lawyer Couples From Ruth Bader Ginsburg And Marty Ginsburg

RBGFollowing up on my previous post, 'Marty Was Always My Best Friend': Ruth Bader Ginsburg's Love Story: National Law Journal, Lawyering in Two-Lawyer Households: Balancing Brief-Writing and Bedtime:

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a pathmaker, a cultural icon known as “The Notorious R.B.G.” The Supreme Court justice was a law student when women constituted only 3 percent of lawyers in the United States and co-founder of the ACLU Women’s Rights Project and the leading advocate for gender equality.

Any one of these trailblazing achievements would be enough to explain why Ginsburg is a hero in my home—and why my two-and-a-half-year-old daughter has the T-shirts to prove it. But Ginsburg is a legal waypaver for another reason: While I do not have the data to support this hunch, I would guess that Justice Ginsburg and her late husband Marty Ginsburg were among the first two-lawyer families in the bar. Their story provides inspiration to today’s two-lawyer families. And boy do we need it.

My wife and I do not have all the answers about how to survive as a two-lawyer family. On most days, it feels like we have none of them. Almost every morning, one of us is struggling to make breakfast for our daughter before her nanny-share buddy arrives, while the other is 20 minutes late getting ready for work or frantically trying to respond to an urgent email that came in over night. Almost every evening, we are trying to balance brief-writing with bedtime. Add to this unexpected work travel, a snow day, or any other crisis that can throw off our best-laid routines, and the baseline stresses that come with being a lawyer skyrocket. Perhaps this is why I’m either totally ill-equipped or perfectly situated to write this column.

I also know that we are not alone in this experience. Whether it is shared tolerance for argument or a love of scintillating dinner table conversation about stare decisis, lawyers just seem to marry other lawyers. Many of our friends and law school classmates are part of two-lawyer families. Nearly three-quarters of the lawyers in my small law office have a spouse or significant other who is a lawyer. According to several recent annual U.S. Census Bureau surveys, lawyers are disproportionately likely to marry other lawyers. I’d bet that a good number of those reading this column are part of a two-lawyer family. So, like my wife and me, you might benefit from some advice from the Ginsburgs: ...

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