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As a fortysomething single mother and attorney in Washington, D.C., Elena Albamonte had no trouble finding a date on Match.com, one of the biggest and most popular online dating services. But it was nearly impossible for the Justice Department immigration lawyer and mother of two to find someone with whom she could actually have a conversation. Her dates, she says, were just too geeky, too awkward, or too different from her. Then she found herself on a date with a fellow attorney and realized how much they had in common. Granted, the guy didn’t take her breath away (in fact, they only went on five dates). But Albamonte, 49, was struck by “how easy it was to talk to him,” she says. “It’s amazing how much you have in common with someone who went to law school.” Perhaps, she thought, other attorneys were looking for a site that was tailored specifically to them. Why not, she wondered, have a site where you don’t have to search through hundreds of listings to find someone who knows what it means when you talk about constitutional law class or the last time you wrote a brief? And why wait around for someone else to make it? So Albamonte got to work creating LawyersinLove.com, a dating site strictly devoted to lawyers. She bought up the domain name, created a logo, and invested more than $45,000 in building a database and advertising. As online dating has proliferated, specialized sites targeting professions, religious groups, and hobbies have popped up on the Internet. For instance, there is www.astro-dating.com, for those who want to look for a mate whose astrological sign matches theirs, and conservativematch.com, designed for those politically and socially to the right. Of course, not everyone who spends her days dealing with lawyers may want to date one. But Albamonte is betting that her site — open for a little more than a year — will fill a need in the busy schedules of the hundreds of single law students, associates, and partners across the city. The point of the Web site is to make it quick and easy for busy lawyers to be able to “go places to meet other lawyers who are busy,” she says. Since its launch in February 2005, LawyersinLove.com has registered 1,500 users. Like most online dating sites, it allows members to post profiles, pictures, and even a few lawyer jokes. One quirk is that very few people have posted photos, Albamonte says. Though some might wonder why these lawyers don’t realize one of the fundamental but unwritten laws of dating (that a picture is worth a thousand words), Albamonte imagines that attorneys are less put off by the lack of pictures than others. After all, lawyers take pride in keeping themselves out of the limelight. To make sure that members are bona fide lawyers, Albamonte runs the names of any questionable registrants through Martindale and other directories. If she can’t find their names or confirm that they are, in fact, attorneys, she deletes their profiles. For the time being the site is free, but Albamonte expects to soon start charging new members $15 a month. Although LawyersinLove.com is meant to be national, most of the users are concentrated in the Washington area — a fact that has frustrated at least a few users. Charlene Dryer, a 59-year-old lawyer in Southern California, complains that although she has been registered with the site since its beginning, she hasn’t received one e-mail. “I was widowed 6 years ago, and at 59 I’m almost resigning myself to being alone the rest of my life,” she wrote in an e-mail. Albamonte hopes to fix the issue of few responses as her membership increases. One problem might be that she’s just not seeing it. She suspects that singles use the site to meet people, after which they interact on their own. But she’s got other plans in the works. She recently launched a Web site for lawyer-oriented social events called LawyersNightOut.com, and may someday branch outside of the legal world. (She’s already bought up the domain name doctorsinlove.com.) As for her own dating success? Not much yet. Albamonte says she hasn’t signed up for her own site because she’d rather not mix business with her personal life. She, for one, is still looking.
Emma Schwartz covers federal courts for Legal Times . She can be contacted at [email protected].

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