So you want to be a criminal lawyer...

My First Law Partner - Let Yourself Fall In Love

No I don’t mean with criminal law – I mean in the real sense, let yourself fall in love.  This is probably the best advice I could give to be successful on your own in criminal law.

A lot of people, I think in particular men, feel the need to become successful on their own before getting married.  There is nothing wrong with this. I understand the impulse to want to be able to offer someone stability and security in a marriage, but I think it is a flawed way of thinking that does not lead to a happier marriage or a better life.

I remember reading an article by Charles Murray who counselled that young people should consider marrying young.  His argument was that there is a difference between a start-up marriage and a merger marriage and that, after becoming financially well-off and established, you have missed the opportunity to have the benefits of a start-up marriage where you had the opportunity to grow and become successful as a unit, rather than as individuals.  Murray argued that this did not mean to get married young for the sake of it, but to not miss an opportunity to marry the right person when you are young. I can remember reading this article and realizing that it had encapsulated my feelings on this subject perfectly.

I know that I could never have made it on my own as a criminal lawyer if I did not have my wife supporting me.  I met my wife when I was 27 years old and I had just finished articling and was about to start my life as a criminal lawyer (these two things coincided in the same week).  A year and a half later, after leaving the firm and venturing out on my own, I was scared and had not sent a bill in three months. I told my wife I was thinking about quitting and that maybe I should just give up on criminal law and apply to a Bay Street firm where at least I would get a pay cheque.  My wife looked at me and said, “What’s your problem? I am working, I can pay the bills and we don’t have kids. You focus on doing the things you need to do to become successful and don’t worry.”

To this day, I remember that moment like it was yesterday for so many reasons.  I remember it because it was a turning point in my life where I did not allow fear to cloud my decision making.  I also remember it because you can never forget when someone supports you in a time of weakness. This is part of what makes marriage so great.  Human beings need support. We have to allow ourselves to admit that and not think that we need to become a big success and have half a million dollars in the bank before we think of getting married.  

My wife and I are a start-up marriage.  We built everything we have together from when we had nothing.  I am so happy with my decision to get married when I was young. No merger marriage could ever make me as proud.  

Back to FAQ