Small county district attorney here, in a ski town. It's a mix of rural, townies, tourists, and everything in between. I handle ALL misdemeanor and traffic cases for the entire county.
It's hard to define a typical "day" in my job, because my days are very different depending on what my court schedule is that day.
I have a first appearance docket one day a week, for 2-4 hours, depending on case volume and how complicated the cases are. (An expired tags or no proof of insurance traffic ticket is in-and-out in three minutes, tops. A contested domestic violence case with a parallel divorce/custody case, or a dogs murdering livestock case (yes, seriously) will take significantly longer to address.)
I have my attorney/return appearance docket on a different day, and that usually keeps me in court until mid-afternoon. I may also have motions hearings that day. I usually have maybe 50 cases set on a return docket day. After the holidays or on a crazy weekend it can be triple digits. I have private attorneys and pro se in the morning, at staggered times, and public defender cases, any in-custodys, and sentencings in the afternoon.
I cover jail advisements every day at 1 if there are any. There's usually at least one, but it's a small county so the volume isn't massive for advisements. I think the most I've ever seen in one day is 7. Our public defenders come to jail advisements daily and argue everyone should get a PR bond.
I can have jury trials scheduled the other 2-3 days a week. My trial calendar is currently full about two months out. Some will inevitably take a plea, fall apart, or get resolved for any number of reasons. On average, I probably do 1 jury trial per week. I've gone three or four weeks without any going, and I once did 4 in 4 straight business days. On a trial day, just assume I get nothing else done.
On average, I have the other two days a week to sit at my desk and get everything else done. It probably takes a half-day total to review my dockets (first appearance and return docket) - read files, contact victims, develop plea offers, convey those offers to attorneys (mostly phone and email). I deal with the same 15 so attorneys on the vast majority of my cases. We all have a pretty working relationship, except the small minority who are categorically unreasonable, incompetent and/or annoying as shit. I probably spend a good hour a day just returning phone calls, emails, reviewing my inbox from court. Another hour gets sucked up by walk-ins. (In a small jurisdiction, defendants, attorneys, victims, friends, family, etc., walk into our office and we help them or talk to them about whatever it is they're here for. Our elected is big on community customer service. I'm sure it's quite different in a big jurisdiction.) I also do trial prep, respond to motions or draft motions as necessary, review warrants, answer questions from law enforcement officers, etc. My schedule on a day-to-day basis is just constant prioritizing. What do I have to get done, when do I have to get it done, and what can be slacked on or ignored. You simply cannot give 100% to everything when you have 2,000 cases a year.
I've been in this job since last fall. When I started, I worked 8 to 6 easy, and probably tacked another 8-10 hours on through staying late and coming in on the weekend. Now that I have a better idea what I'm doing and my docket is pretty under control, I rarely stay later than 6 or take home work pretty rarely. It's typically only trial prep, or recently I've had appeals to work on, too.
Today I was in the office all day. Here's what I did, as best I can remember:
8:30 - roll in fashionably late, make coffee, chat with admin staff re: advisements
8:30 - 9:30 - lots of small tasks; my inbox gets dumped on after docket days, so I weeded through those files and just kind of tried to clear off my desk (things like trying to contact victims, requesting missing discovery from law enforcement agencies, adding/amending charges -- mostly tasks I assigned myself during docket, if that makes sense); had a convo with my boss re: a 4thA "training issue" we need to address at one of our agencies
9:30 - 9:45 - reviewed a Defendant's request to get off supervised probation early, talked to his PO, filed a response
9:45 - got a call from an atty who wants to stop by and talk about a half-dozen cases; found those cases and prepped for said meeting
10:30-11 - met with atty on those; discussed offers, etc.
11 - got a late advisement delivered (warrantless affidavit had some issues, defendant is a "frequent flier" who was released yesterday ... ); discussed it with some of my co-workers
12 - left at lunch to buy hummus
12:20 - back at office, received (angry but basically frivolous) motion to dismiss from opposing counsel for my trial tomorrow, began drafting response
1 - jail advisements
2 - finish response and file it (motion was denied before COB)
2-3:30 - draft jury instructions for trial tomorrow
3:30 -5 - review exhibits for trial (including a 90-minute audio recording, dispatch tapes, photos, etc.)
5 - 6 - reviewing reports for tomorrow's trial, back-and-forth emailing with primary officer on a few points (we met the day prior like a half hr to discuss the case, after an unrelated motions hearing), print out bullet points for voir dire, review jury list
6 - 7 - go to drugstore to print enlargements of trial photo exhibits (our color printer is broken); wait around for prints
Things I wanted to do today and didn't get done:
- actually label and organize exhibits (I'll probably do that at counsel table while waiting for jury selection to start)
- make a powerpoint of my visual exhibits (I'll just come in early and do it frantically at 7 a.m.)
- review docket for next week since I have two one-day trials in a row and don't want to come in this weekend (wishful thinking)
- prepare myself to meet with my complaining witness for trial number two, who's coming in a 4 p.m. tomorrow (when I should be done with trial, or at worst waiting for a verdict) for trial prep. or contact any of my law enforcement witnesses regarding that case ... which I forgot I need to do until right now
- draft a reply brief for an interlocutory appeal I filed, or at least start. I have three more days ...
- call my public defender and find out whether he's found his client for a different trial next week ... He's MIA and I'd prefer not to prep if the Defendant can't be located.
- file a few motions for various cases recently set for trial
On a trial day, it's more like this:
7 a.m. - get to work, do last minute stuff (mentally prepare, read reports, finalize exhibits, print stuff, etc.)
8 a.m. - pretrial chambers conference with judge, exchange jury instructions (if not already done), discuss any outstanding issues on either side (admissibility of evidence, witness problems, whatever)
8:30 - 10 a.m. - venire seated, jurors introduce themselves, judge asks some questions, each attorney gets half an hour to have it, challenges for cause are heard on approach, peremptories on paper via the baliff, jury selected and sworn
10:15 - 10:30 - openings (usually brief in misdemeanor/traffic cases, a DUI isn't usually that complicated for opening statement purposes)
10:30 - 12 - People's case in chief
12 - 1 - lunch
1 -2 - I'm usually done with case in chief by now; People will rest, Defendant will make an MJOA, it will be denied
2- 3 - defense puts on any case they have
3-3:30 - closing arguments and rebuttal
3:30 - 4:30 - get absolutely nothing accomplished while jury is out, except jail advisements
Most juries are back within an hr, and I'm out of the office by 5 or 6. I'll chat about how stuff went with other people in the office, put out any can't-wait small fires that erupted while I was in trial, and leave as soon as I can get out of there.