Being A Parent And How It Affects My Work At A Criminal Defence Solicitors

Before children, life was simple. Three holidays a year (not restricted to Christmas, Easter and August), a career, a social life, money to spend on myself, very few worries and above all, as much sleep as I needed/wanted!

Now, as every parent will tell you, the second you get pregnant all of the above can, and inevitably will, change.

I am now a mother first and foremost, whether I like it or not. I can leave a job I am not happy in, I cannot leave my children, and if you want a career as well this requires you to become the biggest juggler in the world!

So how do the other subjects above fair?

Holidays – Well we still manage one per year, possibly two if we are lucky, not quite three!

Social Life – Not much.

Money – All spent on the children

Worries – Every second of the day!

Sleep – I’m sorry, what does that mean?

I am very lucky to have a career as well as children, but this as stated above, is a juggling act. Trying to fit in working pressures/deadlines as well as childcare/homework/PTA/sports clubs etc. is not an easy task.

Our children see us as role models. I work for a criminal law firm; we defend people who are alleged to have committed a criminal offence. We constantly teach our children to follow the rules and not to break the law but I work for a firm that defends these types of people, explain that to a 7-year-old! Even worse to a 12-year-old who thinks she knows everything because she is a ‘pre-teenager’!

I’m not sure how being a parent affects my work (I’ll let our equity partners be the judge of that!), it’s more like how my working life at a criminal defence solicitors affects my parenting.

Working within a Criminal Law firm certainly opens your eyes as to what can go on in this world and nearly every situation that we deal with in work can make me worry about my children’s life just a little bit more! The cyber life they live in is a far cry from where I first began my childhood, let alone the availability of alcohol, weapons and drugs on today’s streets.

That said, I go back to the words ‘alleged to have committed a criminal offence’. Everyone has the right to a defence; working with criminal lawyers every day has taught me this. I have to admit, I now listen to the full story, and both sides of the story, before giving judgement to whatever wrong doing my children have ‘allegedly’ done. I’m not sure I was this patient before I worked with criminal lawyers! Having learnt this myself, I am clearly trying to teach my children the same, to let everyone have a fair trial. This has not been lost on my 12-year-old as, upon being told she couldn’t have a sleepover with 15 friends at our house, the next day produced to me a five page plea in mitigation, explaining exactly why this should be possible, along with a diagram of how we were going to fit them all into the bedrooms! Maybe I have a defence lawyer in the making; she certainly has an answer for everything!

Deborah Jackson is the Practice Director at Burton Copeland Solicitors in Manchester.