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Valentine's Day Tips for Second Circuit Attorneys

By Robyn Hagan Cain on February 09, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Can a Second Circuit attorney balance an appellate practice with a love life? Yes, according to former Cravath, Swaine & Moore litigation associate Lauren Willig.

Willig’s opinion carries weight here. In addition to being admitted to practice in New York and before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, Willig is the New York Times best-selling author of the Pink Carnation series of historical romance novels.

We asked Willig for Valentine’s Day tips for lawyers who are still planning for next week’s saccharin sweet celebration. Here are her suggestions:

  1. Keep your law life and your love life separate. Lauren's first rule? Leave the office. Her second rule? Leave the office in the office. "Having former felons deliver singing candy-grams is probably also a bad idea, and will result in a Law & Order episode."
  2. Cite controlling authority. If you spend more time on memos than love prose, Willig suggests citing the experts in your love notes. By experts, she clarifies "poets rather than Posner."
  3. Delay the inevitable. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals is not in session next Tuesday, but arguments are scheduled Wednesday morning. (Yes, we checked.) If you have to work on Valentine's Day, Willig says it's okay to reschedule special time with your sweetheart either before or after February 14. "Somehow, Valentine's Day always manages to land in the midst of an important brief/trial/combination thereof. Looking on the bright side, it's a great way to test the true character of your partner. If he/she understands why you have to stay in the office and sends treats -- preferable edible or alcohol -- to your desk, then you know you have a keeper."
  4. Pop the question. While Valentine's Day engagements may seem clichéd, that doesn't mean they're taboo. "Precedent serves a purpose. There may be a few eye rolls and comments about lack of originality, but, seriously, who wants to be proposed to on Presidents' Day?"
  5. Relax. "To be honest, my lawyer experience taught me a valuable lesson about Valentine's Day: it's just a day. While it's great to celebrate the concept of love, there's no reason to tie yourself in knots or make yourself and your significant other twitchy over it."

While Willig's romance author days differ from her litigation days because her perfume "is no longer eau de spilled coffee," she -- like many appellate lawyers -- will be working next week on Valentine's Day.

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