The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - SEAN CONNOLLY - KATHY LETTE

SO, GE­ORGE CLOONEY is no longer foot­loose and fi­anceé-free. The world’s most fa­mous bach­e­lor is about to be wed to the beau­ti­ful and brainy hu­man­rights lawyer, Amal Ala­mud­din.

Of course, mar­ry­ing into a life in the law sounds so glam­orous, but as I’ve been hitched to a hu­man-rights lawyer for 25 years, I feel I re­ally should of­fer Ge­orge a few top tips.

First off, the spouse of a hu­man rights lawyer must get used to the fact that you will always come sec­ond. Yes, your le­gal ea­gle spouse adores you, but they’re very busy sav­ing the world which means they work 24/7.

Even more an­noy­ing, they also work for free. (In my view, the words Pro and Bono should only be used when re­fer­ring to a pen­chant for the lead singer of an Ir­ish rock band.)

Maybe even be­fore the hon­ey­moon is over, you’ll be suf­fer­ing from a chronic case of Sub­poena-envy. And it’s very hard not to go into Mar­tyr Mode, when your other half is called away to write an ur­gent sub­mis­sion so has to miss yet an­other din­ner party/par­ent teacher night/school con­cert – it’s im­per­a­tive that both par­ents at­tend the na­tiv­ity play, whether you need to sleep or not!

The spouse of a hu­man rights lawyer must not ex­pect any help around the house ei­ther. Yes, your lawyer part­ner may be adept at catch­ing despots laun­der­ing money – but that means there is no time left for them to put the wash­ing on.

But the main down­side to mar­ry­ing a lawyer is that you can never, ever win an ar­gu­ment. Bar­ris­ters have been at univer­sity for so long they’ve got ivy grow­ing up backs of their legs. And what they’ve grad­u­ated in, is Ad­vanced De­bat­ing Skills. You must be sure to an­swer care­fully in all dis­agree­ments, too, as a lawyer only needs an­other two sig­na­tures to put you away.

And it’s not just your Le­gal Ea­gle’s su­pe­rior con­ver­sa­tional duck­ing and div­ing that will have you flum­moxed. They suf­fer from First De­gree Knowl­edge. In other words, eru­dite hu­man rights lawyers have a habit of telling you what you al­ready know – ex­cept they tells it to you in Latin – I-am-a-smarty-pants-ic­u­laris max­imus. Plus, they’re Co­nan the Gram­mar­i­ans.

A brainiac bar­ris­ter just can’t help cor­rect­ing your gram­mar, even when you’re talk­ing dirty in bed.

Which segues nicely into the topic of sex. Are lawyers also flu­ent in body lan­guage? A girl­friend of mine who is mar­ried to a bar­ris­ter, puts all her sex­ual re­quire­ments on a lined le­gal notepad to be taken un­der ad­vise­ment.

He makes her plea-bar­gain for fore­play. So, if you’re go­ing to marry a lawyer I sug­gest you prac­tise some le­gal­is­tic pil­low talk, e.g. “Go ahead and hold me in con­tempt – or just hold me.” “Is that a gavel in your pocket, or are you just pleased to see me?” Or “I yield to the au­thor­ity of the bench.”

An­other down­side to mar­ry­ing into the le­gal life, is be­ing spied on.

Sur­veil­lance makes the pa­parazzi in­tru­sion look play­ful. The hours I’ve wasted be­ing witty and pithy on the phone, in case the CIA were eaves­drop­ping. I mean th­ese tran­scripts could one day be read out in court and you want to look in­tel­lec­tual, yes, but also in­ter­est­ing – which is why it’s also im­por­tant to slip in a few ref­er­ences to whipped-cream or­gies.

So, how to tell if you re­ally are un­der sur­veil­lance?

Your first clue will be when your neigh­bour gets tipsy one night and tells you how much bet­ter you look in real life than through binoc­u­lars.

Or if your post­man seems to know a lot about your shower rou­tine.

Or the fact that an odd look­ing woman called Ge­orgina Nee­gus keeps ap­ply­ing for a job as your iron­ing lady.

But with­out doubt, the hard­est thing about be­ing mar­ried to a hu­man rights lawyer is that they value their pri­vacy above all else.

If my lawyer hus­band ever finds out that I’ve even writ­ten this list of top tips, I’ll be di­vorced. All though, of course, he won’t call it di­vorce, but case closed.

But Ge­orge, take heart! When our hu­man rights lawyer spouses, who are in the same cham­bers and of­ten work to­gether, are away slav­ing over a hot case file in some malaria-rid­dled fun­gal jun­gle, let me just re­mind you that I will be there, to com­fort and con­sole you... That’s the kind of self sac­ri­fic­ing woman I am.

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