An examination of differences between those who follow in the parent's occupation and those who do not follow their parents would be fascinating for examination of parent-child dynamics, but our interest has been drawn to the process by which children of lawyers become lawyers. This study explored the process by which individuals from multigeneration lawyer families arrived at a career in the law. Of particular interest were the effects of early exposure to the law (human capital theory), the structure of occupational opportunities, historical events, and family tradition.

This article reports findings from an examination of several aspects of lawyers' careers, particularly the pattern followed in arriving at a career in law and aspects of the career path once someone has entered the law. With respect to the first, we look at when these children of lawyers first thought of law as a career, whether they had wanted not to be lawyers or had contemplated other careers; and whether they believed they had entered law through planning or had drifted into the profession. Then we focus on movement from college to law school -whether immediate or only after a period of time-- and whether these lawyers would again take the same path to the law.

Of particular interest are parallels between the lawyer-child's and lawyer-parent's careers, that is, whether the lawyer-child's career is the same as the parent's. Here we are interested in three aspects. The first is whether parent and child attended the same law school. The second is whether law practice was general or specialized, and, if the latter, whether the specialty was the same for parent and child. Closely related is whether the parent and child both held law-related public positions (such as prosecutor or city attorney) and, if so, whether the positions were of the same type. The third is whether the child practiced with the lawyer-parent in the same firm. Here we examine whether the child joined the"family firm" as the first position in the practice of law or after having obtained experience elsewhere, reasons why the child joined the "family firm" and, if the child moved, the reasons for the move. We are also interested in ways in which the child may have individuated from the lawyer-parent, for example, by exploring other careers or working in them before entering the law. We conclude with information on these lawyers' satisfaction with the law.

Included in

Law Commons