When did you last see your father?

Research, conducted by HR consultancy Hudson UK, shows, if today’s report in The Lawyer is to be believed, that 30 per cent of legal professionals are so dissatisfied with their current role that they would not want to see their children in their job. Martin Luise, director of legal recruitment at Hudson, is quoted in Lawyers’ kids warned against following in their footsteps, as saying,

These findings are very disturbing, especially with the current economic conditions. That so many legal professionals would not want to see their children follow in their footsteps points to a workforce that is both unhappy and lacking confidence.

I don’t agree that the workforce is unhappy (or any more unhappy than any other profession’s workforce). Nor do I think it demonstrates a lack of confidence in the profession. Not wanting your children to follow in your footsteps does not necessarily mean that you are dissatisfied in your job. Instead, it is perhaps a realistic evaluation of where we see the profession in ten years, the opportunities that are available to Millenials that weren’t to us, and, more generally, changing attitudes and expectations.

Although I haven’t actively encouraged my children to consider law as a career; equally, had any of them wanted to do so, I would have encouraged them. A number of my friends (not lawyers) have asked me to talk to their children, and I have, and some are now lawyers. I have also always had trainees, at last count some 50 over the years, so have, at least at second hand, an understanding of what has driven a generation and a half of people to enter the law.

But closer to home, what put my children off, and they have made no bones about this, was the work. “We never saw you when we were little; you were always working” is what the eldest told me recently. That, I replied, is an occupational hazard for the children of a corporate transactional lawyer!

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