Last week my law partner Jarrod Smith and I had the opportunity to attend the Padron Elementary School role model fair and explain exactly what it is that lawyers do: we help people.
The fourth and fifth graders filed into the hallway outside of the school’s library and a group of 15 wide-eyed students were soon sitting at our table. The questions began right away with the kids inquiring if we were secret agents, bankers, or businessmen. Our response was all of the above.
We explained to the kids that when you run your own law practice you have to take on several roles: lawyer, investigator, manager, accountant, and so on. We explained that while being a lawyer is hard work, it’s also more fun than they could ever imagine.
Explaining the finer details of just what exactly a criminal defense lawyer does and trying to describe this to children was no doubt a tad more tricky than explaining the overall idea of what a lawyer in general does. However, after a little trial and error, I think we found a winning analogy:
Me: How many of you have ever been in trouble with the teacher for talking in class?
Almost everyone raises their hand and erupts in laugher.
Me: How many of you don’t believe you should have been in trouble or how many actually weren’t talking, it was actually the person sitting next to you?
The hands stay up.
Me: But you can’t argue with the teacher right?
Me: Well, what if I told you I could argue with the teacher for you?
An eruption of laughter and shouts of approval from the kids.
Me: Well that’s exactly what I do everyday, I argue with the classroom rule maker, only I do it in a courtroom with a prosecutor and a judge.
Overall it was a great experience and as children often do, talking with them about our careers took us back to the basics and reminded us of why we decided to become lawyers in the first place: to help people.
We thank these little kiddos for helping us to remember these core values upon which we built our law practice and the values we strive to practice every single day. Here’s to the future lawyers of Padron Elementary!