From the very beginning I knew that my shadow day with my mom would not be exactly relaxing. I woke up the same time I do every school morning, and left the house by 7:30am. Kristin (co-student) met me and my mom and we headed out to Seattle. On the way over we were stuck in a fantastic jam of traffic, so we had a lot of time to question my mom about how she likes being a lawyer, and got an idea of some of the different cases she does.
She told us she currently has 40 cases she is working on right now, which surprised us because that seems like so much work! We arrived to the King County Superior Court about 30 minutes early. My mom sent Kristin and I up to the 9th floor where she said she knew a judge. Kristin and I got to go into the courtroom and talk to Judge Yew [Yu], and she let us take a picture with her in the area where she sits. We came back down to the courtroom my mom was in and watched two other cases that were going on that involved criminal law. One of the criminals had a medical problem and was dressed in a red suit; his arms, hands, legs, and feet were all chained down to a wheel chair. It was scary to see criminals right before my eyes, but exciting at the same time to see everything in motion.
The it came my mom’s turn to go up and give her speech to Judge Armstrong. There wasn’t a jury so the judge let me and Kristin sit in the jury box and watch my mom up close. It was thrilling to watch my mom talk to the judge persuading her about this case where a lady broke her hip. The defense lawyer then came up and gave a rebuttal, and then my mom had one more time to come up and argue against his rebuttal. It was funny to hear vocabulary and words that we use in class!!!
After the summary judgment motion we went to my mom’s law office. Here we got to see the courtroom which was downstairs, helped hand out some of my mom’s paperwork to other people in the office, and got to meet the other attorneys in the office. When we walked into my mom’s office we saw her nice desk and cabinet furniture and a beautiful view of the Puget Sound. On the cabinets were several of her awards such as the Trial Lawyer of the Year 2005, and the President’s Award.
Around 1:30 we went out for lunch at the Old Spaghetti Factory and got to talk to my mom a little bit more about her cases and working with other people in her office. We came back and before we left we watched a video on one of my mom’s cases about a girl who got in an absolutely horrible car accident that changed her life. She was a straight A student, about 16 years old and had plans for Hartford [sic]. When she got in the car accident her parents didn’t think she was even going to live, and she did. Sadly, she could do none of the things that she had dreamed of in her future.
Shadowing my mom helped me learn how much hard work being a lawyer takes. All of this hard work takes so much passion and dedication for what you do. There are nights where my mom said she worked until past midnight. This tells me that being a lawyer isn’t like a lot of jobs, where they tell you that you have to work from 9 to 5. It’s a job where you have to take your own responsibility. I also was able to learn about how things work in a courtroom. Not just the procedures, but watching my mom and other lawyers speak showed me hw important speaking and communication skills are when you need o persuade somebody in such a way.
Based on this shadow day experience my impressions are positive all the way around about becoming a lawyer. First I take a look at all fo the negatives, it’s like homework, everybody sets deadlines for you to have things turned in, and if they aren’t turned in it can destroy an entire case. it requires long hours of work and a lot of dedication. A great amount of preparation and planning is needed, and sometimes the hard work and long hours can detract from your social life. But, when I talked to my mom and Paul Whelan another lawyer, each and every one of them said the best part about working in this field is being able to help people. Watching that video on my mom’s client right before we left made me realize how that feeling must absolutely make their job worthwhile. That feeling tops all of the other negatives to their job by about a million.
Photo: Alysha’s Assignment