Homeschooling provides some amazing opportunities to provide our children with knowledge and opportunities to learn about and experience job opportunities as we prepare them to be self-sufficient adults. We have the freedom to tailor our children’s education to fit their interests, especially throughout high school. This, then, can dovetail into career options.
Our first goal is to help them figure out not only who God made them to be but also what God created them to do. Our second goal is to help them discover how their skills, talents, and passions can all mesh together into an occupation that they love.
We are beginning a brief series that will cover a few different careers in order to provide assistance as you and your child think through options. The exploratory questions and suggestions we cover here will, hopefully, guide you through innumerable opportunities of discovery.
In this post, we’re covering the law. If you think your child has any interest in the field of law or if you want to expose them to the various options of a legal career, here are some ideas and questions that might be helpful to you and your child.
- Lawyer – The very first career option in the law that probably comes to mind is a trial lawyer who questions witnesses, wrangles with the judge, and speaks eloquently in front of jurors. Quite frankly, only a tiny percentage of lawyers actually spend time in front of jurors. Lawyers more typically spend their time meeting with clients to ascertain their needs, researching extensively, and writing everything from emails to contracts to legal briefs.
- Paralegal/Legal Assistant – A good paralegal is an invaluable assistant to a lawyer. She does certain tasks which could include research under the lawyer’s direction, writing drafts of various documents, and communicating with clients so that the lawyer has more time to do those tasks that only a licensed attorney can complete, such as giving legal advice and appearing in court.
- Legal Secretary/Legal Assistant – Also called an administrative assistant, a legal secretary may act as a receptionist in a smaller law firm as well as handle administrative duties and basic correspondence.
- Law Professor – Professors at law schools teach classes, conduct scholarly research, and write articles to be published in law journals. They may also consult on cases.
- Law Librarian – This is simply a librarian who works within the law, providing reference services to lawyers, students, and clients. A law librarian could be employed in the library of a law school, a large law firm, or a government entity. Don’t let the title Librarian make you think it’s a dusty, boring job. A quick skim through a job posting site revealed a job opening for an Assistant Law Librarian for the US Library of Congress and a Research Law Librarian for the Central Intelligence Agency.
- Judge – A judge is a lawyer who has been appointed or elected to preside over court proceedings.
- Elected Official – Many lawyers run for office at all levels of government, from county prosecutor to state senator to governor to president and all the offices in between.
- Government positions – Many elected officials hire advisors or support staff who are lawyers. Kayleigh McEnany, President Trump’s press secretary and now a Fox News host, has a Juris Doctorate from Harvard University.
Skills or Interests Needed
- Love of reading. One of a lawyer’s or paralegal’s main tasks is reading – letters/emails, contracts, cases, briefs, notes.
- Communication skills/writing proficiency. Communication is necessary at nearly every part of a paralegal’s or lawyer’s job. Another main task for a lawyer is writing – letters/emails, contracts, briefs, notes, petitions, opening and closing arguments, questions for witnesses.
- Attention to detail. Accuracy is a must, and every single word has meaning. Even punctuation can matter. A recent case cost a dairy company $5 million due solely to the absence of an Oxford comma (the final comma in a list of things) in a contract with their drivers.
- Time management. A lawyer can often juggle several dozen cases or more at once, and that means the paralegal is balancing the same load. Efficiency is essential as well as meeting all deadlines.
- Business skills. A law firm is a business and must be run as such, with attention given to marketing, accounting, billing, and other office management decisions.
- Analytical + creative skills. Every client needs a solution, and while a lawyer or paralegal needs to be able to think through the facts and determine a logical answer, creativity also has its place when many answers are possible.
How to Encourage a Curious Child
- Find people to talk to in your homeschool community or church. This could be turned into a vocation paper for a school project. Is there a lawyer or paralegal or judge within your circles? With their consent, make an appointment for your student to conduct an interview. Questions could be prepared ahead of time and include inquiries such as what is your education, what do you like/not like about your job, and what are three characteristics needed to do your job.
- Acquire good reading material and videos. Explore the legal field via good reading and books, both nonfiction and fiction.
The Declaration of Independence, The Constitution of the United States of America, and the Bill of Rights. These are the foundational documents to our country and the supreme law of the land. Rick Green, former Texas State Representative and founder of Patriot Academy, has several terrific resources available on his website.
Constitution Alive by Patriot Academy is a video course that will help your entire family learn more about the founding fathers, early days of America, and the document that governs our country. There is an accompanying workbook.
Your high schooler may also find Constitutional Literacy by Michael Farris helpful. This 25-part DVD series will walk them through the Constitution and how it applies to issues in our country. There is an accompanying workbook.
Christianity and Law by John Witte Jr. and Frank S. Alexander is a book that explores the contributions Christianity has made to main legal teachings throughout history.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is classic fiction, but the main character is a lawyer who defends a man shunned by everyone else. Atticus Finch is inspiring to those who seek the legal ideal of justice.
Bleak House by Charles Dickens is a classic book that centers around a court case involving a number of wills and, through the various characters in the legal profession, provides an inside look at the legal profession in 1800s London. This book weighs in at over 900 pages, so you may want to watch the BBC miniseries version with Charles Dance and Gillian Anderson.
- Search for job shadowing opportunities. Spending a day observing someone in your child’s chosen career can be a terrific way to see, up close and personal, what the job entails. Then, have your student write a reflective essay about the experience.
The law can be a challenging and fulfilling career choice. It’s a big decision, so explore the possibility and pray for and with your child as he seeks to discover what God has in store for him.