Who says the law isn’t sexy? In Vault’s annual Office Romance survey, 51% of attorneys reported that they had been part of an office romance. While this number pales in comparison to the 75% of energy sector employees who have gotten frisky with a co-worker, there’s certainly more love in the air at law firms than one might expect.
So what, exactly, do we mean by romance? 22% of respondents said they had been in a casual relationship with a co-worker, 18% owned up to a random office hookup, 16% established a long-term, serious relationship with a colleague, and 7% had actually met their spouse or partner on the job.
And ironically, lawyers aren’t necessarily risk-averse when it comes to pursuing love (or lust) on the clock. Only 25% of respondents said they had ever avoided a potential romance they otherwise would have pursued, specifically to avoid the awkwardness of an office liaison. And some who “tried” to avoid an affair eventually gave in—one respondent said, “I tried to avoid the relationship that I am having right now. He kept pursuing, and I finally gave in. It’s been going on now for four months and no one knows about it. Including our spouses.” Hmm… do I sense an episode of Maury Povich on the horizon for this pair?
Two-thirds of those polled said that the shaky economy hadn’t affected their willingness to take romantic risks at work. Moreover, nearly half of attorney respondents said they had no idea whether their office even has a policy regarding office relationships. Might want to look into that…
Now let’s get into the really scandalous stuff. 40% of attorneys know a co-worker who had gained a professional advantage because of a romantic relationship in the office. And a whopping 63% know a married co-worker who has had an office affair. But while everyone knows, not everyone cares—as one attorney said, “What they do is their business.”
But before you dial the extension of your crush down the hall, consider the after-effects of an office romance gone wrong: more than one attorney polled was fired because of a workplace relationship. At the very least, weigh the risks with the benefits. As one respondent commented, “I would happily trade a job for a happy relationship.”