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A Matrimonial Lawyer, in the Truest Sense

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Law, Samantha Daniels said, is “in my blood.” Her father was a prestigious lawyer and Philadelphia chancellor. Her two brothers are lawyers. “As a family, the law and legal education [were] considered fundamental,” she said. “At a young age, I was fascinated by the law. If I wanted to convince my father of something, I had to lawyer him. I grew up with it, I understand it.”

So it was natural for Daniels to become an attorney herself. After graduating from Temple University Beasley School of Law, she went into matrimonial law. She chose that field because she was “always a people person” and liked the family law classes in law school. She first worked for a judge in the matrimonial division of the New York Supreme Court and later joined a law firm’s matrimonial practice.

While working as an attorney, Daniels was always “throwing parties on the side for my single friends,” she recalled. “To be a good hostess, I would introduce people: ‘You’re both from Chicago and you both like to play tennis.’ Then I’d learn that they’d gotten engaged. I thought to myself, ‘It’s more rewarding to get people together than to break them apart.’” And her matches were solid because she’d learned in her law practice why relationships don’t work and was able to avoid those pitfalls.
Before long, Daniels left the law to form a matchmaking company, Samantha’s Table. She has since helped more than 300 people find spouses. Her database now has 50,000 clients across the country and she has offices in New York and Los Angeles. Her business caters to high-profile, successful people looking for love. “They’re all top, top in their professions,” Daniels said of her clients. “The have no trouble getting dates, they just haven’t found the right person.”

Chronicling her work, Daniels wrote Matchbook: The Diary of a Modern Day Matchmaker, which was made into a TV show called Miss Match created by Darren Star and starring Alicia Silverstone. Today, she regularly appears on TV for advice and celebrity segments and writes romance travel articles and relationship columns for several publications, including The Huffington Post.

Though far from the courtroom, Daniels said, “Honestly, I think I use my law degree every day. A JD is a better degree than even an undergrad degree because it teaches you skills you’ll use in the real world.” Specifically, she draws on her speaking skills when she appears at conferences and events. And when she’s writing pitch letters for articles, “I think about moot court and law school papers and the law of primacy and recency: put your most powerful points at the beginning and at the end.”

Because Daniels considers her business “strategic matchmaking,” the biggest way her law degree helps her today is in the “way I analyze people,” she explained. “I look at matches analytically. I look at it as a little case I’m trying to solve.”

Leslie A. Gordon Freelance legal affairs journalist and corporate writer/editor for law firms and other professional service firms. Former staff writer at The Daily Journal, a legal affairs newspaper in San Francisco. A "recovering" lawyer, also spent five years as an adjunct professor teaching writing at UC Hastings College of the Law. Author of the novels HEADS OR TAILS and CHEER.

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