Roberta M. Gubbins, Esq.
I Write Content--You Practice Law

Draft Three / blog

The Lawyer Parent

Ask children who have lawyers for parents and they will tell you said parents are not only a source of embarrassment but can be real drags. As we celebrate the holidays and families are congregating,  it may be time to see ourselves through our children’s eyes. The trouble for the child undoubtedly begins before birth.

lawyer parent 
The gynecologist becomes aware that one of the child’s parents is a lawyer. The method of questioning alerts the doctor that you want detailed, soundly reasoned information. Little Jane or Jack is also listening and the discomfiture caused by the lawyer parent is beginning.

Being born doesn’t help. Now the scrutiny becomes more intense. Every diaper change is preceded by discussion regarding method, frequency, and type of diaper. More dialogue about the sleep position, the type of food, proper attire perhaps some research is needed before a decision can be made.

“Do the job,” the by-now-uncomfortable child thinks. “Is it going to be this way all my life?”

It is time for pre-school. The child is excited about being with his peers. The search for the proper pre-school was long, intense with many high-level parental conferences. Finally, a decision is made and the child is off to school. One day the children are talking about their parents.
trash truck

“My Mom/Dad is a lawyer,” says your child proudly. “What’s a lawyer do?” asks Andrea.
“Reads stuff and talks,” says your child.
“Is that all?” asks Ed. “My Dad drives a trash truck.”
“Now that’s really cool,” says Andrea.
Your child comes home and asks, “Why don’t you drive a truck?”

Move on to elementary school. Little Jack, now in second grade, has become resigned to the dullness of your occupation. Career Day is coming up. He comes home with a note from the teacher asking for parents to come in to talk to the class.

“You don’t have to go; I know how busy you are,” he says in an effort to avoid any embarrassment.

“No, I would love to speak to your class.”

 “Okay,” he says politely, head bowed.

You gear up for your performance. After all, you have spoken to groups before. You stand up on your legs in court all the time. Talking is what you do for a living. What would the class like to hear?
Maybe give a discussion of the First Amendment? Or, perhaps talk on the rights of children? You research your topic, you have notes, and you are prepared. Wearing your best suit, carrying your briefcase, off you go to your child’s class.

The teacher greets you and explains that you will speak after Mark’s Dad, the builder. Mark’s Dad has a tool belt, brings in some wood and proceeds to build a birdhouse—complete with turret and weather vane—in 5 minutes.

A hard act to follow, but you are prepared. Your child introduces you. You start your speech.
lawyer parent speaking to class

“Have you been on television?” asks one student.
“Oh,” Your child wiggles in his seat.
“Do you carry tools? Like Mark’s Dad?”
“No, I carry a briefcase.”
“Oooh” they say. Your child wiggles some more.
“Do you build stuff?” asks a voice from the back of the room. You suspect the questioner is Mark.
“No, I research the law and write briefs.”
“Oooooh,” they say. Your child has about disappeared under his desk.
Finally, the teacher says, “Thank you, Ms. Lawyer.”

Your child walks you to the door and the ordeal is over for both of you. The class moves on to Sally’s Mom, who shows them how to make an origami bird.

The teenage years are no picnic when you have a lawyer for a parent. First of all, lawyers have strange senses of humor. They tell weird stories and they tell them anywhere—in front of your friends, their parents, and their friends. People look at them and wonder how they can believe that the fact that little Johnny, sent to live with his Aunt Tillie who placed him in a fancy private school where he proceeded to teach the other little boys socially unacceptable behavior, is hilarious.

Then there is the questioning. Lawyer parents ask annoying questions. Where are you going? Why? Who are going with? What time will you be home? Do I need to call the other parents? Other parents ask those questions, but lawyer parents demand answers.

They will start their cross-examination with “Isn’t it true that...” They call the other parents. And, if you end up in trouble for some transgression or another, they bring in several lawyers to straighten out the mess, causing you even more humiliation. Nothing is simple for lawyer parents.

Going through life with a lawyer parent is not easy. On the other hand, they do know how to read, research and write. They also know how to argue. They will cause you to think and have reasons for your conclusions. They will force you to clarify the issue of a situation.

While they do not drive trucks, carry neat tools or build anything, they are handy to have around when a problem arises. They will take it on, protect your rights and stand in your corner all your life.
Lawyer Parent to the Rescue
(Excerpt from "Why do we do that?"commentary on lawyers and the law.)