Thursday, April 24, 2014

Little Lawyers

Today was our second year to participate in Take Your Kids to Work Day at the SEC. Cora participated for 10 minutes, but Landon and Claire stayed the whole day.

Like last year, there wasn't a lot of actual working, but we did have a very short game of hide-and-go-seek in my office, followed by some coloring and singing of Frozen songs. Which is exactly how I normally spend the hour of 9:15-10:15 a.m.

Once the real program began, there was a very special federal court room visit for the older kids where they would get a tour by federal marshalls before sitting in the gallery and watching a criminal sentencing hearing. Landon said he wanted to go and though he was under the recommended age limit, I knew I could trust him to sit still and be silent as required, and Claire came back up to my office with me. So while Landon got more courtroom time than your average 3rd year biglaw associate, Claire turned my binder clips into earrings and colored me 87 pictures of Easter eggs that we cut out and hit around my office.

After the courtroom tour it was time for a hot dog lunch and playtime on the rope jungle gym in the park outside my office. Again, a perfect representation of what I do each day. Landon seemed pretty impressed by the courtroom and told me a bad guy was wearing handcuffs and had to go to jail for 9 years (drug offense). He's going to be so disappointed when he realizes I can't send anyone to jail and my subpoenas aren't even self-executing.

After playtime the kids split into groups and did a scavenger hunt around the offense which was a huge hit and then we all gathered in the biggest conference room to watch Frozen. Claire can't WAIT to work at the SEC when she's a grown-up.

But in all seriousness, I have very strong memories of going to Take Your Daughter to Work Day with my dad when I was little. I remember waking up SO early, riding the bus into downtown Houston (we lived about 45 minutes out), and walking into the giant Shell office building. It felt so foreign and special. My dad worked at Shell for more than 20 years, but we lived so far from his office that it was a very separate part of him. Whereas my kids knew where all the juice boxes were in the kitchens at the firm, and could navigate their way to my office door from the parking garage, we never visited my dad at work. And unlike my kids who know a few dozen female lawyers and would currently find it far less noteworthy to hear about a friend's dad who stayed home than a friend's mom, I had never seen a professional female until I started walking into One Shell Plaza back in the early 1990's.

And it blew my mind. All these women, moms!, wearing suits and high heels and Going To Work. At the time, the General Counsel of Shell was a woman and she did the intro speech and I still remember seeing her on the podium addressing us all and feeling like the world had opened up. I could wear a suit. I could talk to lots of people. I don't know how much Shell spent on that program, and I have no idea if they still do it, but it definitely made an impact on me. And it's not that I had any real concept yet of staying home v. working, or that my parents ever said I couldn't or shouldn't work, it's just that I'd never seen it. And seeing is so much more believing or hearing or hoping. I think it was a bigger moment for me than I recognized at the time.

My kids are clearly well aware that both men and women work outside the home (and inside the home/pool!), but I still think it's nice for them to see it, even if they walk away mostly thinking I watch movies and climb on ropes all day.


  1. I wonder what the drug offender was thinking when he came into the courtroom and there was a gaggle of kids watching him get sentenced!

  2. My little one is about Claire's age, and since I had a pretrial conciliation on Take Your Kids to Work Day, I had to pass on it this year. I can't wait until she's a few years older and can come to work with me. Our office doesn't do anything, but the county courthouse (across the street) puts on a day-long program for the kids.
    My dad is an operating room nurse, and the time he took me to work to watch a heart surgery with him was one of the most memorable days of my childhood. It was simply amazing.
    It looks like you all had such a lovely time :)

  3. very cute! I wish our office participated in bring your kids to work day. I can't imagine that I would get much done though :)