I come from a long line of attorneys. My grandfather was one for a while but eventually gave it up to sell cars instead. My mother and father are both attorneys, in fact they met while attending Loyola Law School and opened up a practice together before my mom left to be a LA County Superior Court commissioner and my dad joined up with another firm. So, you can say it was in my DNA to be a lawyer, too. A few years after graduating from Wesleyan University in Connecticut, I enrolled at Loyola Law School, right here in Los Angeles, my parents’ alma mater. In fact, on my graduation day, I didn’t receive my diploma from the Dean but was handed the leather bound certificate from my parents, instead. A treasured memory that makes me smile when I think about my graduation day.
But, taking a page from my grandfather’s book, the law just wasn’t for me and after a few years of extremely long days, billing way too many hours and reading an exhorbarant amount of contracts with fonts too tiny to clearly see, I decided to make a change and be a realtor instead.
So, when my eldest son came home announcing he joined his school’s debate team, for a brief moment I thought that maybe an interest in the law IS genetic. My father-in-law has been a practicing Los Angeles attorney for over 55 years so Mason has it in his blood from both sides of the family. Who knows? In any case, he has been bitten by the debating bug and, even though I had practically zero passion for practicing law, I couldn’t be prouder of his interest in this, the unofficial family business.
Middle school debate tournaments are no joke. These students are handed really advanced topics and prepare for weeks to be well-versed on both sides of the issues. Some of the cases I’ve seen centered around the Iran Nuclear Disarmament, the US adopting a universal basic income, charter school accessibility, allowing for concealed weapons and barring football from educational institutions. Did I mention my kid and most of his teammates are 11?! But you wouldn’t know it from the confidence they project as they approach the podium, arguing their points in front of fellow teammates, competitors and judges. Mason’s league follows the rules of parliamentary debate so with that comes knocking on desks when a strong point has been made, heckling from the opposing side and having to endure a constant flow of interruptions that the speaker can choose to ignore or allow. The skills these kids are learning are immeasurable. To keep their composure despite the knocking and interruptions and for a timed length of time to bring home their points in concise and clear ways- these are abilities that will serve them well into the future, I have no doubt.
So, only time will tell if our first-born son will be the third generation to try the law as his first chosen profession. Maybe he’ll attend Loyola Law School and I’ll get to hand him his diploma in the same way my parents handed mine to me. I don’t want to be that pushy kind of dad who’s going to pressure or steer him in this direction. In fact, if he also happens to be the first in the third generation of Lees to try the law but then later decide to go into a different professional direction, well that’s totally OK, too. I happen to think Lee and Sons Realty has a pretty great ring to it! But until then, debate away, my son. You’re doing great.