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Dating between summer associates and law firm attorneys or partners has a certain ick-factor to it. There can be a large age gap and there's always the power dynamic that can make hook ups a bad idea.
In general inter-office dating can be a tricky field to navigate. If it goes poorly, you still have to see that person every day.
With summer associates, it gets even messier. In this economy, any summer associate is hoping for an offer. If they get involved in a relationship with a firm attorney and then don't get an offer, that may lead to a problem.
But not all relationships between summer associates and firm lawyers go poorly. Just ask the Obamas.
Barack Obama and Michelle (Robinson at the time) met at Sidley Austin in Chicago. By his own admission, he was a summer associate and she was his mentor:
It's not clear from that video whether their relationship started during or after the summer, but the Obamas have now been married for almost 20 years. They survived Barack's senate and presidential campaigns, and have raised two children together.
The Obamas aren't the only successful summer associate hook-up story, although they are arguably the most famous.
At least one other pair of lawyerly celebrities also had law-firm romance of sorts. Former "America's Next Top Model" contestant Sara Albert (now Sara Hallmark) was a summer associate at the firm where her husband John Hallmark is a partner, according to Above the Law. The couple was already married when Hallmark started her summer associate gig, but they did work at the same office.
These success stories aside, hooking up with a summer associate is still often a bad idea. But if you throw caution to the wind and do it anyway, there's a chance the two of you will be living happily ever after.