What it means to be a lawyer - a kid's view
Fairness: Lawyers make sure things are fair.
Inevitably, kids whose parents are lawyers seem to have some concept that their parents
make sure that the laws are fair, and help people settle arguments. Judges enforce the
rules much like the referees in football games. But mommy is not allowed to yell at
judges like she yells at the referees on TV when the referees make calls that mommy
Helpfulness: Lawyers help people.
Lawyers both help put people in jail and help keep people out of jail. They both help people
fire employees, and help prevent employees from getting fired. They help some laws get
passed, while preventing others from seeing a vote. It’s no wonder kids are confused!
Homework: Lawyers do homework all day.
There is also the homework theme. Lawyers have tasks and assignments that often
come with rigid deadlines, not much unlike homework. Children associate doing homework all day with sitting at a desk all day, working on the computer. Kids know that
sometimes lawyers’ bosses get mad at them if they don’t go to work every day. One kid
even offered to call her mom’s boss to ask for a day off to take her to the park — I say
she’s a future mediator.
Verbosity: Lawyers talk a lot.
As attorneys, our words are our swords and our shields. Kids understand the concept of
argument and debate and can appreciate how that is a more agreeable way to solve a
problem than having their brother smack them with the shoe they were fighting over.
Negotiation: Lawyers negotiate resolutions to problems.
Lawyers help people solve problems that they are unable to resolve on their own. Kids may
not realize it, but as soon as they hit toddlerhood they start to use their own developing
negotiation skills to get what they want — whether it be three more bites of dinner to get
an ice cream cone or putting their shoes back on in exchange for 10 more minutes of play
time at the park.