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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

More Legalese for Parents, or Why Children of Lawyers Become Lawyers

The other day on Facebook a friend of mine complained that she felt her two children were miniature lawyers, and every day she was adjudicating cases like Kids Who Want to Dress Crazy v. Winter or Kid v. Vegetable.  I'm quite familiar with that caselaw, and as I wrote earlier, I've had my own experiences with forum shopping and adverse possession.   Another person pointed out how with children there is "a significant lack of attention to precedent,"and that's true too -- no matter how many times I say no to a cookie before dinner, they will not stop asking.

My friend has a theory: those of us who are (or used to be) lawyers are inadvertently teaching our kids semantics and rhetoric and how to argue.  And it's true -- like the good little litigator I was, I back up my arguments with facts and reason and I use words carefully, thereby modeling how to make arguments stronger.  Add to that a child's natural propensity to argue, and we have effectively bred mini-lawyers.  It makes sense; my father was an attorney, and our arguments over the dinner table used to drive him nuts. I seem to have passed down the same trait.

Which is how then-four-year-old Beadboy2 came to defend his scribbling on a closet door, by pointing out that I told him not to draw on walls.  We live in fear of his teenage years.

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