What is involved in being a lawyer?

Moray Faculty of Solicitors' Stall at Elgin Academy Industry Awareness Day on 15 May 2019

Comedian, Eddie Izzard, has described his stand-up routine “Death Star Canteen” as his “Hotel California”.

That may be because it has become so closely associated with him that he can “never leave” it behind.

Strangely, Lego has had an important part to play in popularising Izzard’s imaginary scenario, which takes place in the bowels of the Death Star. Darth Vader argues with a canteen assistant over various matters relating to the Jedi’s order of Penne all’Arrabbiata (caution: some sweary bits in Death Star Canteen).

It’s a revealing commentary on aspects of people’s jobs we might not otherwise consider.

On the one hand, here’s something of what Darth Vader does in his down time, when he’s not killing people or blowing things up.

On the other hand, the lowest-ranking workers – in the canteen, for example – are so out of touch with “management” that the assistant thinks Vader’s first name is “Jeff” and he does not even know that his workplace is within a “star”.

What is involved in different people’s jobs (including solicitors) was up for discussion at an Industry Insight Event in Elgin Academy on 15 May 2019. Coincidentally, Lego also played a part in the discussion, as we go on to explain below.

The event was organised by Robertson Group for the benefit of young folk between the ages of 11 and 13.

The aim of the day was to raise awareness of opportunities within our particular work sectors by delivering “an engaging activity”.

Having been divided into groups with between 4 and 10 members, each group had 10 minute presentations from 4 out of about 14 possible job types.

to groups with between 4 and 10 members, each group had 10 minute presentations from 4 out of about 14 possible job types.

Those employers present on the day (in addition to Robertson Group) included:

  • The Royal Navy
  • NHS Grampian
  • Gordon & MacPhail
  • The Army
  • The Moray Society (Elgin Museum)
  • Health and Social Care Moray
  • Sweco (civil engineering)
  • Pitgaveny Estate
  • Barnardos
  • Moray Sports Centre, and
  • TSI Moray

“What do lawyers do?”

That was the question solicitors from Moray Faculty posed to the S2 and P7 pupils.

David Adams of Cockburns and Peter Brash of Grigor & Young began by asking the young people what associations the word “lawyer” had for them.

The word “court” was easily the most common word they came up with but others included:

  • paperwork
  • justice
  • money (making lots of it) (!)
  • selling houses
  • helping people
  • defending people, and
  • injury or “insurance” claims

David had prepared a Lego-based slide presentation for each group to watch.

Lego figures featured in offices, court rooms, family groups, accidents and various domestic situations. These images illustrated a wide range of scenarios which could involve solicitors (e.g. criminal defence; family law, including divorce and adoption; and personal injury claims).

The image below was not one that was used but it gives you a good idea of the type of situation which featured.

Lego Road Traffic Accident Scene

Most children had some idea of what lawyers do in Scotland but few seemed to know that solicitors cover such a broad range of topic areas.

Women -v- Men

We noted that Lego (in so far as images are available online) seemed to view lawyers as exclusively male. We explained to the groups that, in Scotland, the legal profession is now over 50% female – and that percentage is only likely to increase in future. One (female) S2 pupil commented that the imbalance was probably because “men can’t be trusted”.

Thank yous

Over our 15 or so 10-minute slots, we found the experience to be interesting and thought-provoking (and entertaining).

We would like to thank Jade O’Hara, Regional Engagement Co-ordinator for Robertson Group, for organising the event and inviting us along.

We would also like to thank the teachers and pupils of Elgin Academy for their hospitality (with tea and coffee readily available for us in the Games Hall, we did not need to visit the canteen…).