Biglaw, In-House Counsel, Job Searches, Kids, Litigators

Inside Straight: Things My Son Said

At age five, when I was driving him to kindergarten one morning:

“Dad, you’re a lawyer, right?”

“Yes, Jere.”

“So you’ve read all the laws?”

“Oh, no, Jeremy. No one could ever read all the laws. There are way too many laws for anyone to read them all.”

Pause.

“Hey, Dad: How are you supposed to obey all the laws if you haven’t read them all?”

Longer pause.

“That’s a good question, son. When you get home tonight, ask your mother.”

At age seven, after we walked back from watching a baseball game on a miserably hot Sunday afternoon to my law firm’s nearby parking garage, where we’d left the car. We stopped in the cafeteria and bought soft drinks from a vending machine before getting in the car:

“Hey, Dad, you’ve got a pretty good job.”

“Why’s that, Jere?”

“Because it’s air-conditioned, and you can get a root beer whenever you want one.”

[Think about that the next time you’re sitting in your office cursing a colleague, opposing counsel, a client, or a judge: “It’s air-conditioned, and I can get a root beer whenever I want one.”]

At age 12, when the phone rang at 5 a.m., and the kids ran into our bedroom, saw me talking on the phone, and watched me transform from Dad-Dad into Lawyer-Dad and head to the closet to pull on a suit:

“Dad, what happened?”

“A MedEvac helicopter just crashed over at University Hospital.”

Horrified: “Was anyone hurt?”

“Yes, Jere. Two people were killed. A third’s in the hospital.”

Pause.

“What are they calling you for?”

[No kidding, Jere. In a sane world, they’d be calling a doctor, or a priest, or a florist, or a mortician. But it’s the United States in the year 2000. They called a lawyer.]

At age 19, sophomore spring at college, when he called to discuss his choice of major:

“Dad, I have to pick my major, and that’s made me think about what I want to do with my life.”

“Yes, Jere?”

“I know I want to do good for people. I want to help others, and I want to be satisfied when I’m old that I’ve made a difference. And I’m thinking about what job I might pick.”

“Yes, Jere?”

“I thought about being a lawyer. You know, Dad, I really love you. But basically you help big companies that did it get off the hook.”

The little turd’s in medical school now. I sure love him.


Mark Herrmann is the Vice President and Chief Counsel – Litigation at Aon, the world’s leading provider of risk management services, insurance and reinsurance brokerage, and human capital and management consulting. He is the author of The Curmudgeon’s Guide to Practicing Law (affiliate link). You can reach him by email at inhouse@abovethelaw.com.

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