Is Law School A Place For Women To Get Their MRS Degree?

The MRS degree. To some young women, this is a foreign phrase. They think it is an actual degree, perhaps for science. But the MRS degree is actually a term coined in the 1950s when many women attended college with the soul purpose of finding a husband (they even attended classes teaching them the skills that would make them good wives). The phrase is still very much alive today, but it has taken on a new meaning. For some law students, they expect the MRS to come hand in hand with their JRD.

According to a female graduate of Brooklyn Law who is now a first year associate at a firm in New York:

“I know some of my classmates were definitely hoping to find a guy while we were in school but they were definitely also very focused on doing well and landing a job. I think it is a modern update of the MRS degree. You are in a place with smart, driven men who could potentially be your intellectual equivalent. Why wouldn’t you try to find a person during that time?”

And apparently, for a number of her classmates the plan worked out.

If women are looking for a strong concentration of men in graduate school, business school is actually a better bet. There are far more men than women attending business school, whereas law school has been pretty evenly split down gender lines in the last decade. But the number of women going to law school has actually dropped in the past few years. Women still make up less than half of the students at most high-profile law schools. Out of the top 10 law schools, women outnumber men at only two of the schools. According to a current third year Harvard Law School student, even if it is sometimes discussed in a humorous way, there does seem to be a sentiment that this would be a good opportunity to find a mate.

“I do think there are women who enter Harvard Law School hoping to meet Mr.Right.”

Another woman who graduated from law school last year said she believes female law students see law school, especially the top schools, as the ideal place to find the person that will help them create the ultimate power couple.

Plus, she said your first few years out of law school are pretty tough in terms of leaving time for a social life. The schedule during those first few years as a lawyer leaves you with little time to socialize, while keeping you out of shape and chronically exhausted:

“I think female law students tend to think about the bigger picture and they figure this is the best time to find a person. And I think people like that they look impressive together, at least on paper.”

On the law blog, Bitter Lawyer, one male lawyer described the typical profiles of women in law school and called one the “MRS candidate”:

She thought about medical school.  She thought about an MBA. Both required actual work. So she took a Kaplan course, pulled a decent score on the LSAT and here she is, looking for the “Mr.” to her “Mrs.” If you’re a half-decent-looking law student with a thimble’s worth of charm (otherwise known as one of the twelve normal guys in the class), you’re in the midst of her ‘no less than two karats’ crosshairs.”

All of the women  interviewed for this article did make sure to emphasize that they themselves and their fellow students did not pay $150,000 and do three years of intense work for the sole purpose of finding a mate. The stereotype of a gold-digging law student merely attending school to find a man to take care of her and not to use her degree is not entirely true. But the smart, driven woman looking to find her intellectual and financial match in the three years of law school is definitely a familiar type on many law school campuses today.

Photo: MGM’s Legally Blond




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    • Sylvia

      “Soul purpose”? Come on, Grindstone! SOLE PURPOSE.

    • Elle

      A law degree in the States is a JD (Juris Doctor), not a JRD.