Is the legal profession the right career for your child?

by Annie Tang in Articles

DatePosted on September 23, 2015 at 04:15 AM
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As a parent and a former practising lawyer, people often ask me if I want my kids to be lawyers?  So before I set out my view on this, I thought I would write an article to highlight some of the observations I have gained over the years of being a lawyer and a parent of kids growing up in Hong Kong.

International Law Firm

As a litigator in international law firms, my role involved a mixture of research, drafting, advocacy, business development and meeting billable targets but after a few years, I realised that routine work did not appeal to me as a career I would wish to pursue for another 30+ years. 

I also met a lot of lawyers who wanted to pursue other careers outside of the legal profession.  However, they were stuck as to what they could do as an alternative career given what they perceived to be expected of them from their family/society.  

Throughout my legal career, I discovered that I enjoyed the business development side of the law more and that I also had a more versatile outlook and hence transitioned out of the legal profession into a more entrepreneurial role as a legal recruitment specialist where I could still be connected with the legal profession.       

Wanting the Best for your Child

Being a parent in Hong Kong is interesting and you can’t help but notice how other parents raise their kids. 

You see different sides in people when they want what’s “best” for the kids, ie, pumping up their kids with extra-tuition and extra-curricular activities (one instantly thinks of the phrases “tiger mums” or “helicopter parenting”). 

I have witnessed the hysteria surrounding playgroups and activities where parents’ Saturdays are packed with tuition centres, art activities followed by music centre and then sports and other activities starting from the the age of 2-3.  

On the other hand, you also see the more relaxed parenting style where parents want their kids to have fun outside of formal education learning.

Kids aren’t made out of Cookie Cutters

Whilst it’s not my job to comment on other parents’ parenting styles, regarding my answer to the question of whether I want my kids to be lawyers, I would say this: kids aren’t made out of cookie cutters. It’s not about what I want my kids to be, it’s about what they want to be.  I would reiterate John Lennon’s wish that he wants to be happy when he grows up.  That’s what I would want my kids to be.  

University and Job Applications

I’ve also recently read some articles about how helicopter parents are attending university open days and even applying for jobs for them.  I am surprised that this happens given that by these stages, you would hope that the kids can handle these independently and certainly, I applied for my own University place back in the day.

My suggestion would be for parents to take a step back and ask themselves, do you want your kids to be do-ers or leaders? 


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About the Author

Annie Tang

Annie is a co-Managing Director of Star Anise, focusing on in-house legal roles. She is a former practising Hong Kong lawyer and a mother of two.

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