One of the Courtship Connection couples included a Ryan Gosling look-a-like

We’re a month into ATL Courtship Connection. So far, I’ve sent nine couples out on blind dates and learned that it’s better to match people according to their favorite law school class than by their ideal number of hours to bill per year.

Women, if you voted for D.C. instead of NYC in our March Madness “best city to be a lawyer” Competition, you made the right choice. I’ve observed that men are more likely to find love (or committed lust) in New York than are women. Men have been withdrawing from the Connection due to new relationships at about double the rate that women have.

This week, I paired a Biglawyer with sterling credentials with a law student from a top school, and set up two attorneys from top firms who crashed the AmLaw 20 without Vault 20 diplomas. Both dates featured interlopers…

I sent Mr. Biglaw and Ms. J.D.-in-waiting to Vol de Nuit, a Belgian beer bar in the West Village, on Tuesday evening. Vol de Nuit was his suggestion, but one of my favorite bars. I set up these two blonde legal types because they both named Bob Loblaw of Arrested Development as their favorite legal character. A shared love of the quirky show and Scott Baio should surely lead to some kind of chemistry, right?

Here’s his take:

This soft-focus photo from the couple reminds me of 70s porn, but their date was not that steamy

We met at Vol de Nuit, a Belgian beer bar in the village that’s great when it’s not overrun with NYU kids. Walking in I had thought it’d be easy to recognize my date based on Kash’s description (“blonde in a pink skirt”), but it turned out to be a cold night so I wondered if she had decided to wear something else. It didn’t matter. Our eyes met and we identified each other right away, as we both were doing the blind date bar scan (looking around to see who else was looking around). I suppose blind dates often have the potential to be awkward–at least until you’re both drunk–but Courtship Connections is great because there are so many natural topics of conversation based on shared experiences, e.g., reading ATL, law school, law firms, confusion about what an ass lobster is. We started off on law-related topics, but conversation naturally flowed to other matters such as marijuana, Tolstoy and Townes Van Zandt.

At one point a girl sitting near us interrupted to ask if I had gone to Columbia Law School. I hadn’t, but it led to a 10-minute double date of sorts as she and her companion joined our conversation. The guy, a former lawyer now b-school student, reads ATL and got a kick out of stumbling into an ATL-sponsored blind date. The Columbia law grad had never heard of ATL, so we set her straight. I asked if we could take their picture to post as our date photo so readers could finally see some faces instead of hands and feet. As you can see on the right, no such luck.

Anyway, she was *really* cool. Down to earth, smart, pretty and, as a law student, her spirit has not yet been corrupted/crushed by NYC BIGLAW. It was a great couple of hours.

And here’s her take:

We went to Vol de Nuit, the always pleasant Belgian beer bar in the Village. No trouble in finding him, since he had the lawyer-just-off-work-carrying-his-gym-bag vibe down pat. We had a nice, meandering conversation over a few of the bartender’s recommendations with – as one of the prior matches described – just enough of the standard awkward first-date pauses. Talked music, books, and family while both obviously attempting to steer clear of legal topics.

To give your readers more than the boring generalities, here’s a fun anecdote: We had date crashers! The couple next to us at the bar were two lawyers that chatted us up for a while. They were a funny odd couple that epitomized lawyer stereotypes: She: a talkative public interest lawyer in a turtleneck and He: a burned out corporate lawyer turned buisness guy with a caustic sense of humor. Funny pair.

My date was clearly smart (his educational pedigree is right up Laurie Lin’s alley) and pretty cute (in a Ryan Gosling-ish way), but I’m not sure if there was much of a romantic spark. Ended the night with some good music recommendations and a demure peck at the subway … a thoroughly New York blind date. Thanks for the matchmaking, ATL.

Since they devoted so much attention to their date crashers, I suspect they weren’t totally focused on one another. I think this may have been a “great couple of hours,” but is unlikely to end up in Legal Eagle Wedding Watch.

The other two Courtship Connectors met up on Sunday night at the Black Door on West 26th Street (her suggestion). I paired these two Biglawyers, because they’re both at top firms but have degrees from what some ’round here call “second-tier schools.” The cream rises to the top and I thought their cream might mix well. Here’s his take:

This truly blind date concept is odd, and I was not optimistic that anything more than a hilariously terrible story would come of the experience. I contemplated not showing. But I feared the wrath of Kash, so I trekked to Black Door. The bar was almost completely empty when I arrived, which made it very easy to spot my date who was already there.

We grabbed a table near the back of the bar and struck up a typical first date conversation about work, hobbies we had enjoyed before becoming lawyers, our hometowns, our schools, our families, etc. I think Kash must have matched us because we both somehow managed to land BigLaw jobs from admittedly very second rate law schools. My date was definitely cute and seemed intelligent, but also a bit shy and nervous. At times our conversation flowed well and at times it was a bit forced.

This photo conveys a cold shoulder, or two

Two really drunk girls lightened the mood a bit by starting their own dance party right in front of our table and then inviting us to join them. We did, briefly. And we tried to take pictures of the girls dancing together, but the lighting was just terrible and our window of opportunity was limited. Sorry, ATL readers. The best we could do was a picture of the girls’ backs when they were stationary at the more well lit bar (see attached).

We left the bar a little over 2 hours after we arrived, walked together for a few blocks in the rain, and I got her number. I am going to visit my family for Easter, and she is going to visit her family for Passover – so the religious/cultural differences could be an issue, but I plan to call her. Overall, I was quite impressed. Nice work Kash.

Hmmmm…. Religious affiliation is not part of our Courtship survey. Maybe it should be next time around — which will likely be in Los Angeles, if I go with popular demand. Here’s her take on the date:

We met at 9 pm on Sunday night at the Black Door, a bar in Chelsea. I arrived first and spent those few minutes alone nervously wondering what I had gotten myself into. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised by how the date went. The bar was relatively empty, and we were able to grab a table and chat. The conversation flowed pretty well, but the highlight of the evening was being invited to a dance party. Not too long after we arrived, two girls had decided to start dancing in an otherwise relatively empty bar. We knew we were supposed to take a picture of our evening, and we thought they would be the perfect subjects. Unfortunately though, a dark bar and a blackberry camera are a bad combination. In our first picture attempt, all we captured was part of the back of one girl’s sweater. The girls noticed the flash and offered to pose, backs to us, for a better picture. This resulted in another failed shot. A couple of minutes later, they approached us and demanded that we join their dance party. While not much dancing occurred, we got to chatting and it turns out my date indirectly knew these girls through six degrees of separation.

At the end of the evening, he asked for my number, so maybe I’ll see him again. Overall, the date turned out much better than I expected. If nothing else, it will be a great story.

Again with the focus on the date crashers. It sounds like there was more of a connection between these two than between the blondes though. Keep me posted!


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