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Mamas, don't let your daughters grow up to be lawyers

A good friend messaged me on Facebook to let me know how her daughter's applications to law school were going. She said that many of her friends were saying she should try to talk her daughter out of going to law school and ended with the question, "Why would they say that?" 

Indeed, why would they say that? My father, my husband and I are lawyers, as are many of my friends and acquaintances. As I look back on each of our respective careers, I see benefits to a legal education that are too numerous to list. To name a few, we have supported our families; provided jobs through our firms; donated time, money and business acumen to charitable and community organizations; and, the reason I went to law school in the first place, counseled thousands of clients to a resolution of their legal problems. For anyone who enjoys working with people and solving problems, law school would pave the way to a very satisfying job.

So, why discourage my friend's daughter from attending law school? Probably, because lawyer bashing is fashionable these days. It's in the news, night show monologues, movies and joke emails. In fact, it is so prevalent that, in an effort to interject some humor into the sermon, a pastor at my church included "even lawyers" as among the bad actors he would welcome to our church. (And here I had been going to this church believing that I was already welcome, and it had never occurred to me that I would not be welcome because I was a lawyer.) The criticism of lawyers is so public and common that not even the pastor questions the truth of it (or the propriety of participating in it). My friend's well-meaning friends are simply assuming that she would not want her daughter to become a part of this maligned group of bad actors.

Until this blog, I had handled the reality of belonging to this reviled group by growing thick skin and accepting the attacks as part of the "job." But today my thoughts are different. I think the stories of brave plaintiffs and clever attorneys, who took on irresponsible corporations to change dangerous situations, need some public airing.

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