Community + Relationships

The Only Non-Lawyer in the Family

  • Family disagreements can be particularly rough for the only non-lawyer in a family of trained arguers
  • Non-lawyers may wonder whether they missed out by not becoming a lawyer when parents and siblings bond over shared experiences
  • On the bright side, you’ll have no problem getting legal assistance when you need it!

About two thirds of all parents want their children to grow up to be lawyers, according to a survey conducted by

And we’re willing to wager that number increases when both parents are lawyers themselves.

But what if both of your parents—and maybe even all your siblings—are lawyers, and you go in a different direction? Are you doomed to lose every argument and be bored to sleep by the same law school stories forever?

Of course, it totally depends on your family, but there are some shared traits among those non-lawyer “black sheep” in families full of lawyers. Here’s what it’s really like.

Disagreements Can be a Challenge

All families argue, but family disagreements can be a lot more difficult if 75% of the family unit gets to write “J.D.” after their names. After all, lawyers are professionally trained to argue. As strong a debater as you might be, you probably need to learn to be OK with losing arguments about where to go to dinner or where to have the next family vacation. It’s not that your family members are going to turn everything into an argument, but any disagreements that do arise will likely leave you in the dust.

You’ll Feel Like an Outsider

Unless you studied Classics in college, you’ll probably feel like an outsider when terms like stare decisis and prima facie are tossed around in conversation, and even English legal jargon might leave you feeling lost in translation. It’s natural for people who work in the same industry to have a lot to discuss, so there’s a good chance you’ll also feel left out when everyone else at Thanksgiving is discussing their recent casework, especially if they work at the same firm or in the same practice areas.

Are you on the outside of a group that all or most of your family members belong to? Are you the only meat eater in a family of vegans, or maybe you’re the only short person in a family of giants? What makes you feel especially left out?

You’ll Wonder If You’re Missing Out

Especially if you come from a long line of lawyers, it’s totally normal to occasionally wonder whether you missed out on your true calling. After all, there must be a reason everyone else went the way of the law, right? Of course, when you remind yourself of all the struggles lawyers go through—the crazy hours, mountains of student loan debt, unreasonably demanding clients and partners—you’ll probably remember why you elected to go a different route in the first place. There’s nothing wrong with contemplating the path not taken!

 You Have Help When You Need It

It’s not all arguments, insider chat, and legal jargon, of course. There are some benefits to belonging to a family full of lawyers. Whereas most people have to pay out of pocket for any legal assistance they might need, you’ve got a small army’s worth of legal representation at the ready. Need a lawyer to look over a contract? No sweat. Gotta send a stern letter to your landlord? No problem. No one gets through life without needing a lawyer for something; when your family is full of them, you’re in luck.