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4 Tips On Working With Your Spouse . . . In The Same Firm

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By Betty Wang, JD on June 28, 2013 7:01 AM

Some spouses not only live together, but they work together. It's inevitable. One of the most popular ways that couples meet is often at work. Or, there are those who end up working together because of their similar career interests. Or, well, because there's a job opening.

The bottom line is, it's often unavoidable. If Jim and Pam could do it, then so can you and your beau.

So, this is not only in celebration of the most recent SCOTUS decision declaring the federal same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, but in preparation for hopefully a whole new slew of well-deserving, soon-to-be-happily-married couples that will tie the knot.

Here are some tips to keep in mind if you work in the same firm as your spouse.

Your clients are always your first priority

While it may not seem obvious, working with your spouse as attorneys in the same firm is actually a lot easier, in some ways. This is because, for lawyers, it's easy to separate our interests at work -- our clients always come first. Abiding by this mantra should make the workplace with your fellow spouse-associate much smoother. The only way it might pose a problem is if you represent opposing parties, in which case, that's a whole other issue.

Keep work and home separate

Work life and home life are two completely different spheres to operate in. While it's of course easier said than done to try to keep the two separate, you need to treat your work just like any other job, regardless of your spouse's involvement in it. Much like working with a roommate or family member, try not to let anything from outside carry over into it -- including fights over whose turn it is to do the laundry to squabbles over who left the door unlocked. None of these are relevant or have any bearing to your professional life, and the same should go for your spouse.

Maintain separate specialties, or at least spaces

It's inevitable that the more time you spend with someone in close quarters, the more likely you'll butt heads. The healthiest, most functional couples encounter this because it's human nature. With that said, it might be helpful to see that you don't work too closely with your spouse at the firm, if at all. Practicing different sectors of the law keeps conversation interesting, still, and keeps you from possibly stepping on each other's toes. You two lovebirds can then reconvene at lunch.

Don't take things personally

Remember that while you are a unit as a married couple, you are both still individuals otherwise with possibly very different working styles. Your spouse may be more intense than you at work, or stress out more easily. It's easy to forget that their bad moods or different personas are work aren't because of you. But, know that it has nothing to do with your personal relationship and is simply because everyone handles work differently.

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