Written by: Kitty Stainsby
My mum: every dealer’s best friend
My mum is every drug dealer’s best friend. Growing up I’ve got used to her going out to work at all hours but I never really knew what she did until I went to do my work experience with her. My mum is a criminal lawyer and a police station representative. When people are arrested, she goes into the police station and gives them legal advice in interviews. She used to be a police woman but retrained when my brother and I were little.
She has to rush off to work all the time, sometimes halfway through breakfast, shopping or in the middle of the night. She deals with people on the phone first, police officers or clients, and then goes to the police station when they are ready for the interview. If we were shopping or in the car and she got a call, she would switch from what she was doing, put on her professional voice and give someone advice, even if she’s in the middle of Sainsburys. She has a loud voice and some of the conversations can be a bit embarrassing. I always find it interesting how she can change what she is doing very quickly and she always gives the client her full attention, she knows that they need her help and she understands that.
If I moan about her being on the phone, she tells us that whilst we’re sat at home, they’re stuck in a cell. She especially worries about her young clients because she has teenagers of her own – me and my brother. She has known some of them for so long, they ask after her, and she knows their family. We’ve grown up hearing their names (sometimes we say: ‘Oh no, they’ve not been arrested again’). I think this is a good thing because my mum doesn’t just give them legal advice but she takes the time to learn about them.
They’re not always bad kids and it’s not always their fault and they’re not always doing it on purpose. Some of them are good kids in bad situations. My mum has been working with her clients for a long time and so she can understand what it’s like for them in a way that we can’t because we’ve always had a good life and nice things.
It makes me more grateful for what I have. I think I’m more tolerant as well. Sometimes when we are out in the local town, one of my mum’s clients might come up to her and give her a hug. It is a bit weird because they can look pretty scary.
My mum appears well liked with everyone in her profession. Not easy because it’s a very one-sided job: she’s there to defend her clients. She knows what she’s doing and is very good with clients but she’s fair and understands the police officers’ views because of her police background. When she gets the call about a new case, she rings custody and speaks to a custody assistant. She always knows them and has a joke. When she talks to the client she lets them explain what has happened, she always wants to get their view on what has happened and what they want to do next, instead of just telling them what to do. Sometimes they shout and swear, but she always stays calm and never gets frustrated with them and I think that’s because she genuinely likes them.
When I did work experience with my mum I learnt a lot more about what she does. I saw a video-link between my mum and someone in prison. They were talking about the prisoner’s case that was coming up soon. He was pleased to be talking to my mum. He’d even written a letter of apology to the judge although I reckon it was to impress my mum rather than the judge. She asked him to say a few words to me about why he was there. He appeared to trust my mum and had the confidence to explain what he had done, and how grateful he was for her help. He said that I should be very proud of her. I am because she is very good at what she does. Seeing what my mum does has inspired me to become a lawyer, I like how it helps people and that every day is different with different clients and cases. It is a job where you can really make a difference to people’s lives.