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The highly anticipated results of Vault’s Office Romance Survey are in, and as Vault’s Law Editor, I couldn’t wait to see what our friends in the legal profession had to say about workplace relationships. Because lawyers are SO scandalous and unpredictable. OK, I’ll hold the sarcasm—because contrary to conventional wisdom it actually turns out that lawyers aren’t necessarily lamer than other professionals when it comes to this topic. (Note: we only asked respondents to select their industry, so those who selected “Legal” were not necessarily lawyers; but given Vault’s readership, we are confident that the vast majority of them are).
The percentage of law professionals who say they have engaged in an office romance—53—is actually slightly higher than the overall survey average of 51%. And they are more likely to have had such a romance than respondents who work in banking (49%) and accounting (45%), but less likely than those who work in retail (62%) or technology (60%).
Some other data points challenge the assumption that lawyers are more cautious than the rest of the population. We asked respondents if they have ever deliberately avoided engaging in an office romance and only 28% of law respondents said yes, compared to 36% of all respondents. Maybe lawyers aren’t so risk averse and rule-abiding after all. It turns out they are less likely than others to be aware of their company’s stance on love in the workplace. Half of law respondents say they don’t know whether their employer has a policy on intra-office relationships and 40% are unsure of the firm’s general attitude toward office romances (compared to 43% and 35% among the survey pool as a whole).
Are law firms tight-lipped in this regard? Or do they not even bother having policies on romantic relationships, because a) they don’t want to treat their employees like kindergarteners; or b) they don’t think anyone will have time for such antics, given the long hours they work? Does your law firm have a policy on office romances? Let us know in the Comments!
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