AS ROMANCE-STARVED LAWYERS WAIT FOR CUPID TO DRAW BACK HIS BOW, CATHERINE BAKSI FINDS HELP FOR THOSE WHO HAVE LIMITED TIME TO MEET THE LOVE OF THEIR LIFE
If you have just spent another valentine’s day working late at the office, and going home to a microwave meal for one and the only card was from your mum, then don’t despair – you are not alone. We are not all Camilla’s who have finally snared their prince charming, and thankfully help is at hand.
There are roughly 11 million singletons in Britain, wanting love but unable to find it. For many lawyers, the pressures of work sadly leave little or no time for unearthing Mr or Miss Right.
Annalisa Checchi, chairwomen of the London Trainee Solicitors Group (LTSG), says: ‘It can be tough because people are working such long hours, sometimes 16-hour days. It’s especially hard for those who have moved to firms in places where they have had no connections.’
Ed, a corporate solicitor in the north who prefers not to be identified, says: ‘You spend all day working and miss out on the real world. You don’t want to have a relationship with your colleagues or clients.’
Some are happy to look no further than the person on the other side of the photocopier, of course, although certain firms frown on relationships with colleagues. According to one Leeds trainee, people are often wary about mixing business with pleasure, because ‘you can get in a pickle when things go pear shaped’.
Tessa, a 32-year-old commercial solicitor in London, turned to one of the many dating agencies – rather, introduction agencies – that specialise in matchmaking for professional people.
She explains: ‘I had a fabulous career. I was just where I wanted to be, but now my priorities have changed – I want a husband and children. I realised after spending all my time and energy pursuing a career, there was no time to wait for Mr Right to turn up and I wasn’t going to bump into him. I had to do something to make it happen.
‘It is all very polite and honourable. It’s not like going to a bar where someone asks for your number then never calls. You all have the same agenda – to find a long-term partner – which cuts out a lot of the rubbish.
‘I went on a date with another lawyer and found it absolutely fascinating. He worked in a different area of law to me and it was like going out with someone from another profession’.
Karen Mooney, who set up Sara Eden introductions, the agency Tessa went to, says using an agency makes sense. She says: ‘It can be hard for professionals to meet people outside work – they work long hours, life is more stressful and less social than it used to be, and often you don’t want to go out with people you work with. If you want a house, you go to an estate agent; if you use an agency, you know you are swimming where the fish are.
‘The sexes are more equal today. Women are financially self-sufficient and don’t need to find a provider. And people generally are more demanding and selective. They will not settle for Mr or Miss OK, but they do want a one-to-one monogamous relationship’.
Ms Mooney boasts a high success rate with lawyers, especially with the men. ‘Women find lawyers very attractive – they think it’s an exciting, sexy job. For female lawyers though, it can be harder; men can find them intimidating and often they attract weak men who need someone to lean on’.