Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

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Lord Randolph McDuff
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Lord Randolph McDuff » Sat Aug 23, 2014 11:01 am

His/her elected DA is in another county. Districts in rural areas are often huge. There might be one dedicated felony person for that county, or there might even be some felony DAs in the district who play centerfield and drive to the various county courthouses.

Anonymous User
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 23, 2014 7:22 pm

Question Everything wrote:
Anonymous User wrote: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.



Thanks for sharing. You said "small county district attorney" that handles "ALL misdemeanor and traffic cases for the entire county." Do I understand you correctly that you are THE DA, not an ADA? If so, is your position a political one (i.e. were you elected)? Who handles felony cases? I've never heard of a separate DA for traffic/misdemeanor. Lastly, and if you don't mind sharing, are your long term plans to stay doing what you are now or are you planning to make a change at some point? Thanks.



I am not the elected DA. My state has multi-county districts. Our district is bigger than New Jersey. There's three attorneys in my county's office; the other two handle felonies.

I have no plans to leave any time soon or specific "next job." I like my job very much. Something that's pretty obvious is that I basically can't have kids as long as I'm doing this docket. My partner and I both have the kind of jobs where if something's going on (in my case, court), we can't leave. So if I'm still at it in 5 years, it may be time to look something else. Having a family would be much more feasible if I move up to felony. If a spot opens up, I could see myself staying here a long time. However, things may also change if we have a change in leadership -- you can never be sure the next elected DA wants you, or that you would necessarily want to work for them.

The pay is a downside. I make $50k, and cost of living here is high. If we leave the area, I'd be looking at jobs at bigger metro DA's offices in the state or the AG's office. Pay is more or less the same at metro DA's offices, but cost of living is cheaper. I have no interest in going into private practice and hope to avoid it like the plague.

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nealric
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby nealric » Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:57 pm

In house tax secondary market (former NYC biglaw):

I have a "9/80" schedule, meaning I work 80 hours over a 9 work-day period and get one day off. I usually use that day to work on the house or my cars but occasionally use the long weekends to travel.

6:30- up
6:35- start biking to work
7:15- arrive at work
7:15-7:30- shower/change at company gym
7:30-8:30- Read latest tax and industry developments in various journals
8:30-11:30- Review and comment on a transactional document
11:30-12:00- lunch at company cafeteria (actually really good food)
12:00-5:00- Draft memo on tax treatment of a recent transaction, circulate to outside auditor
5:00-5:45 - work out at company gym
5:45-6:20- bike home
6:20-10:00 - dinner/go out/recreation/etc.
10:00-10:30 - shower/pack bag for next day

Schedule is broken up by travel, meetings, conferences, CLE, etc., but it's generally pretty predictable (unlike biglaw was).

Anonymous User
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:13 pm

nealric wrote:In house tax secondary market (former NYC biglaw):

I have a "9/80" schedule, meaning I work 80 hours over a 9 work-day period and get one day off. I usually use that day to work on the house or my cars but occasionally use the long weekends to travel.

6:30- up
6:35- start biking to work
7:15- arrive at work
7:15-7:30- shower/change at company gym
7:30-8:30- Read latest tax and industry developments in various journals
8:30-11:30- Review and comment on a transactional document
11:30-12:00- lunch at company cafeteria (actually really good food)
12:00-5:00- Draft memo on tax treatment of a recent transaction, circulate to outside auditor
5:00-5:45 - work out at company gym
5:45-6:20- bike home
6:20-10:00 - dinner/go out/recreation/etc.
10:00-10:30 - shower/pack bag for next day

Schedule is broken up by travel, meetings, conferences, CLE, etc., but it's generally pretty predictable (unlike biglaw was).


So you only get 1 day off every 10 consistently?

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baal hadad
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby baal hadad » Sun Aug 24, 2014 1:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
nealric wrote:In house tax secondary market (former NYC biglaw):

I have a "9/80" schedule, meaning I work 80 hours over a 9 work-day period and get one day off. I usually use that day to work on the house or my cars but occasionally use the long weekends to travel.

6:30- up
6:35- start biking to work
7:15- arrive at work
7:15-7:30- shower/change at company gym
7:30-8:30- Read latest tax and industry developments in various journals
8:30-11:30- Review and comment on a transactional document
11:30-12:00- lunch at company cafeteria (actually really good food)
12:00-5:00- Draft memo on tax treatment of a recent transaction, circulate to outside auditor
5:00-5:45 - work out at company gym
5:45-6:20- bike home
6:20-10:00 - dinner/go out/recreation/etc.
10:00-10:30 - shower/pack bag for next day

Schedule is broken up by travel, meetings, conferences, CLE, etc., but it's generally pretty predictable (unlike biglaw was).


So you only get 1 day off every 10 consistently?

Sounds like 3 day wknd every other wknd

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nealric
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby nealric » Sun Aug 24, 2014 3:13 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
nealric wrote:In house tax secondary market (former NYC biglaw):

I have a "9/80" schedule, meaning I work 80 hours over a 9 work-day period and get one day off. I usually use that day to work on the house or my cars but occasionally use the long weekends to travel.

6:30- up
6:35- start biking to work
7:15- arrive at work
7:15-7:30- shower/change at company gym
7:30-8:30- Read latest tax and industry developments in various journals
8:30-11:30- Review and comment on a transactional document
11:30-12:00- lunch at company cafeteria (actually really good food)
12:00-5:00- Draft memo on tax treatment of a recent transaction, circulate to outside auditor
5:00-5:45 - work out at company gym
5:45-6:20- bike home
6:20-10:00 - dinner/go out/recreation/etc.
10:00-10:30 - shower/pack bag for next day

Schedule is broken up by travel, meetings, conferences, CLE, etc., but it's generally pretty predictable (unlike biglaw was).


So you only get 1 day off every 10 consistently?


3 day weekend every other weekend.

masterbrowski
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby masterbrowski » Sat Aug 30, 2014 1:16 am

Big law associate. The typical day is that I have no idea what will get dropped on me that day. I'm always one meet and confer letter away from working a 20 hour weekend.

This week I've been in at 830 and out at 9pm most nights.

I get to work and spend 30 minutes getting coffee, emailing, and talking on the phone with my secretary.

Then I usually spend an hour or so trying to do non-substantive assignments (this is the time I make captions, call court clerks, draft letters, fill out court approved forms, tweak declarations, etc.

After this I usually get a call asking me to do some unexpected stuff. I then spend about two hours editing a memo I kind of wrote last week but put on hold. I double check my research to make sure I didn't miss a case citing my cases and send the memo out.

Typically hit up sandwiches or a salad bar with a co-worker. Lunch is usually about 25-35 minutes.

The afternoon is when I really get shit done. I can usually write 5+ pages of a P's and A's and serve a few notice-type documents during an afternoon. At some point during the afternoon, someone invariably wants to have a 10-20 minute conversation regarding a filing or the situation of a case I'm on.

Around 6 pm I get really unproductive. I question everything I've done all day and generally get hangry. I go find food -- either in a conference room or at the subway down the way.

By 7 pm I'm back in the groove. I drink coffee. I open up that pleading that the partner was talking about earlier that afternoon and put about 2 quality hours of work into it.

I go home. I've billed about 9 hours in 12, which is aight.

gchatbrah
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby gchatbrah » Sat Aug 30, 2014 1:26 am

nealric wrote:In house tax secondary market (former NYC biglaw):

I have a "9/80" schedule, meaning I work 80 hours over a 9 work-day period and get one day off. I usually use that day to work on the house or my cars but occasionally use the long weekends to travel.

6:30- up
6:35- start biking to work
7:15- arrive at work
7:15-7:30- shower/change at company gym
7:30-8:30- Read latest tax and industry developments in various journals
8:30-11:30- Review and comment on a transactional document
11:30-12:00- lunch at company cafeteria (actually really good food)
12:00-5:00- Draft memo on tax treatment of a recent transaction, circulate to outside auditor
5:00-5:45 - work out at company gym
5:45-6:20- bike home
6:20-10:00 - dinner/go out/recreation/etc.
10:00-10:30 - shower/pack bag for next day

Schedule is broken up by travel, meetings, conferences, CLE, etc., but it's generally pretty predictable (unlike biglaw was).


This sounds awesome. Rough range of compensation?

(starting in nyc biglaw tax next year, so I'm definitely curious)

Anonymous User
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 31, 2014 10:57 pm

State public defender here. My office has eight attorneys and we cover a county of about 135,000 people. I have roughly 110 open cases right now. If I had to guess, I'd say I have about 60 misdemeanors, 30 felonies, 15 delinquencies (juveniles), and 5 mental health files. A typical non-intake day would look something like this:

08:00 - Arrive at office (I can usually walk to work since I live half a mile from the office, yay small towns!). Read e-mails, listen to voicemails, check mailbox, read the jail list to see how many of my clients got new charges overnight.
08:30 - Visit people in jail if necessary
09:30 - Court: pretrials conferences, motion hearings, pleas, whatever is scheduled that day
11:00 - back at office, do some substantive work (review files, research, write, e-mail)
12:00 - Walk home for lunch (yay small town!)
12:30 - Essentially repeat the morning schedule: see anyone I need to in jail, call clients or meet with them in my office to discuss their cases, go to miscellaneous court hearings (courthouse is two blocks away, so there's a lot of back and forth).
16:30 - Go home. I get out of the office as early as a I can. If I need to research or write or prepare for a hearing or trial, I prefer to do that at home or over the weekend.
17:00 - Gym/dinner/beer
22:00 - Bed

If I'm on intake, my schedule looks like this:

08:00 - Arrive at jail. Meet with everyone who is scheduled to make an initial appearance, evaluate them for public defender eligibility, get information for a bail argument, form everlasting bond with client.
11:00 - Leave jail, scramble to catch up on emails and voicemails, get hardly anything substantive done.
13:00 - Initial appearances. Represent everyone in court who doesn't have their own (paid) attorney present.
15:30 - Go to any juvenile hearings that are scheduled. Otherwise go back to the jail to meet with new clients and review criminal complaints.
17:30 - Head home a little later than usual.

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nealric
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby nealric » Tue Sep 02, 2014 12:07 pm

gchatbrah wrote:
nealric wrote:In house tax secondary market (former NYC biglaw):

I have a "9/80" schedule, meaning I work 80 hours over a 9 work-day period and get one day off. I usually use that day to work on the house or my cars but occasionally use the long weekends to travel.

6:30- up
6:35- start biking to work
7:15- arrive at work
7:15-7:30- shower/change at company gym
7:30-8:30- Read latest tax and industry developments in various journals
8:30-11:30- Review and comment on a transactional document
11:30-12:00- lunch at company cafeteria (actually really good food)
12:00-5:00- Draft memo on tax treatment of a recent transaction, circulate to outside auditor
5:00-5:45 - work out at company gym
5:45-6:20- bike home
6:20-10:00 - dinner/go out/recreation/etc.
10:00-10:30 - shower/pack bag for next day

Schedule is broken up by travel, meetings, conferences, CLE, etc., but it's generally pretty predictable (unlike biglaw was).


This sounds awesome. Rough range of compensation?

(starting in nyc biglaw tax next year, so I'm definitely curious)



In line with a big law junior. Lower base, bigger bonus, better benefits.

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BlueLotus
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Sep 05, 2014 10:27 am

I would love to hear insights from someone who has worked at a business immigration firm (i.e. Fragomen)!

Karl123456
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Karl123456 » Sun Sep 07, 2014 11:16 pm

Prosecutor here. In the traffic section, and also in sexually based offenses. For traffic, most of my week is preparing for Thursdays and Fridays. Thursday is arraignment/status conference day. I'll be in court from 8:00-9:00 talking with the non-misdemeanor people about their tickets and then from 9:00 - 12:00 doing traffic arraignments/covering other shit and then from 1:30 until 4:00 doing status conferences and changes of plea, and the few motion arguments that pop up, and other stuff that is in that courtroom that I cover for.
Monday
7:30: Get to work
7:30-8:00: Surf the web
8:00-8:15: Meeting with legal assistant, go over what i need her to do for the day.
8:15-8:45: Phone police officers and set up meetings to go over the cases we have for trial on Friday.
8:45-10:30: Prep for upcoming arraignments (Typically about 100 per week, 10-15 of which are misdemeanors).
10:30-12:00: Prep for status conferences. (About ten-fifteen per week. Pull file, check to see what offers have been made, who the attorney is, etc.)
12:00-1:00: Lunch
1:00-2:00: Call attorneys, talk turkey regarding pleas for traffic cases. Usually only when we have issues, most don't need to talk to me.
2:00-2:15: Meet with legal assistant.
2:15-5:00: Make plea offers/submit discovery on last weeks 15 misdemeanor traffic cases. Requires me to go over each file, go over if defendant has any priors, decide what is fair, prepare offer, check to see whether restitution is owed, etc.. Call legal assistant and ask her to track down discovery on like half of these because our police officers suck.
5:00-6:00: Go over my six open sex crimes cases, check to see what needs to be done/plan what I am going to do on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Interspersed in all of this are walk-ins.

My Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday afternoon are divided between meeting with officers for upcoming traffic trials, working on my non-traffic cases and responding to appeals.

Work from 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM with an hour for lunch. Used to work 9:00-5:00 on just sex crimes but we recently downsized and I got handed traffic because am only one with traffic experience, and the one with the least total experience.

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BlueLotus
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby BlueLotus » Mon Sep 08, 2014 12:29 pm

I would love to hear from someone from a small firm doing family law!

smallfirmassociate
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby smallfirmassociate » Mon Sep 08, 2014 3:35 pm

BlueLotus wrote:I would love to hear from someone from a small firm doing family law!


I posted about a third the way through the thread, and family law is a substantial portion (maybe 30%) of my practice.

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BlueLotus
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby BlueLotus » Tue Sep 09, 2014 6:40 pm

smallfirmassociate wrote:
BlueLotus wrote:I would love to hear from someone from a small firm doing family law!


I posted about a third the way through the thread, and family law is a substantial portion (maybe 30%) of my practice.



Thank you!

If anyone in an international, direct services NGO could offer their insight, I would appreciate it.

Anonymous User
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 13, 2014 12:03 pm

Would love to hear about the typical day of a derivatives or securitization lawyer.

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iShotFirst
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby iShotFirst » Sun Sep 14, 2014 11:58 am

Misdemeanor prosecutor in one of the biggest offices in the country:

At any given time I have about 100-130 open cases that I am responsible for. On different days, once a week, we have different court appearances scheduled, IE Trial, Arraignment, Motions, Sounding(a trial scheduling conference). So it really depends on what is the next court appearance and what needs to be prepped for it. In general, however:

8am: arrive at office, check emails from last night or cases someone put on my desk and make a general plan for the day
9am: go down to court for whatever court appearance is on that day, on Friday I would only go if I was assigned to a specialty court like drug court, mental health, or probation violation hearings (assignment to these calendars rotate weekly)
11am: return from court and start my post-court work, IE if I was in Arraignment or Sounding, I have to fill out secretary sheets so that my secretary can order or re-order any needed evidence or reports to get ready for trial
12pm: go to lunch, usually 30 mins to an hour, rarely have to do a working lunch.
1pm: start preparing for the next calendar. If its earlier in the week, I will likely be preparing my arraignment or sounding, and I will be calling witnesses or victims, reviewing evidence, making decisions whether to dismiss a case or not, etc. If its later in the week, I will be going over my trial cases, writing up motions in limine or any specialty motions required for the case, calling witnesses, making trial outlines, etc.
3pm: Review incoming cases (those that are set for arraignment two or three weeks from now), schedule filing conferences with officers and victims. These conferences are a meeting where I take sworn statements and determine if I will be filing charges or not.
4pm: Final prep for tomorrow's court appearance, signing discovery, re-reading trial outlines or motions, doing any last minute filing or dismissal decisions, listening to any voicemails and returning calls, preparing plea paperwork, dealing with any issues that are not of immediate importance or delaying them until tomorrow.
5pm: go home

Of course throughout the day I am answering calls, responding to emails, taking sworn statements, etc. If something like this pops up or is scheduled I do it and then return to the more typical, every day work above.

I also usually go in for 1-2 hours on the weekend to finish up anything that I didnt get to during the week.

And 3-5 times a month I would be on Bonds for the day which means I would work on pre- and post- bonds, and appear in court for the bond hearings, until 2pm, after that would be the same as above.

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BlueLotus
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby BlueLotus » Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:17 pm

i would like to hear perspectives from someone who has clerked in family court.

dixiecupdrinking
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby dixiecupdrinking » Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:22 pm

Some of the posts in this thread give me hope that it's possible to be a lawyer long term without hating life.

Would be very interested to hear from a litigator who went in house, if such a unicorn exists.

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BlueLotus
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby BlueLotus » Tue Sep 16, 2014 8:29 pm

Anyone from an AG's Office here? I would love to hear what a day in the life is like.

Sorry I am being so inquisitive. I promise to pay it fwd in this thread when I am jerbed!

20141023
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby 20141023 » Thu Sep 18, 2014 3:32 am

.
Last edited by 20141023 on Sun Feb 15, 2015 6:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BlueLotus
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby BlueLotus » Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:54 am

I would appreciate any perspectives from someone who has clerked for EOIR.

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OperaSoprano
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby OperaSoprano » Thu Sep 18, 2014 10:33 pm

This is an awesome thread! Civil legal services staff attorney here, in housing and homelessness prevention, serving some of the poorest families in my city, who would otherwise lack representation. I have two years of experience, and I work at a small to medium sized nonprofit organization. I am required to work 35 hours per week, though I usually exceed that by a decent amount. I am expected to handle 50 cases per year. My hours can be flexible except on mornings when I have court. Here is a typical court day:

9:30 am -- arrive at housing court, go to each part (courtroom) where I have a case, to greet my clients and check them in with the court clerk. File answers and notices of appearance.
10 am to 1pm-- Meet with opposing counsel to attempt to settle cases on favorable terms for my clients. If this is impossible, I will generally draft and serve a motion to dismiss, which I will argue before the judge. Most judges reserve decision and mail me a written decision a few months after my oral argument
1pm to 2pm-- lunch with my coworkers, or on my own if no one from my unit has court that day. On nice days, we like to get food to go and sit outside to enjoy the city atmosphere.
2pm-- make phone calls to my clients and opposing counsel, and write emails to contacts at various government agencies on behalf of our clients, generally to help them get assistance with payment of rent
3pm-- legal research and drafting-- I usually will have an answer, a motion to dismiss, or opposition papers to draft and serve. I create my own bluebacks and take care of most of my own administrative work, like many public interest attorneys
6pm-- I usually leave around this time, though I can leave earlier or much later, depending on when my day started.

I was recently promoted from fellow to permanent staff attorney, and I love my job. I feel very lucky to have it, given the budget realities facing public interest organizations.

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BlueLotus
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby BlueLotus » Fri Sep 19, 2014 8:27 pm

OperaSoprano wrote:This is an awesome thread! Civil legal services staff attorney here, in housing and homelessness prevention, serving some of the poorest families in my city, who would otherwise lack representation. I have two years of experience, and I work at a small to medium sized nonprofit organization. I am required to work 35 hours per week, though I usually exceed that by a decent amount. I am expected to handle 50 cases per year. My hours can be flexible except on mornings when I have court. Here is a typical court day:

9:30 am -- arrive at housing court, go to each part (courtroom) where I have a case, to greet my clients and check them in with the court clerk. File answers and notices of appearance.
10 am to 1pm-- Meet with opposing counsel to attempt to settle cases on favorable terms for my clients. If this is impossible, I will generally draft and serve a motion to dismiss, which I will argue before the judge. Most judges reserve decision and mail me a written decision a few months after my oral argument
1pm to 2pm-- lunch with my coworkers, or on my own if no one from my unit has court that day. On nice days, we like to get food to go and sit outside to enjoy the city atmosphere.
2pm-- make phone calls to my clients and opposing counsel, and write emails to contacts at various government agencies on behalf of our clients, generally to help them get assistance with payment of rent
3pm-- legal research and drafting-- I usually will have an answer, a motion to dismiss, or opposition papers to draft and serve. I create my own bluebacks and take care of most of my own administrative work, like many public interest attorneys
6pm-- I usually leave around this time, though I can leave earlier or much later, depending on when my day started.

I was recently promoted from fellow to permanent staff attorney, and I love my job. I feel very lucky to have it, given the budget realities facing public interest organizations.


was your fellowship school-sponsored or ejw/skadden/americorps type?

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OperaSoprano
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby OperaSoprano » Sat Sep 20, 2014 12:57 am

BlueLotus wrote:
OperaSoprano wrote:This is an awesome thread! Civil legal services staff attorney here, in housing and homelessness prevention, serving some of the poorest families in my city, who would otherwise lack representation. I have two years of experience, and I work at a small to medium sized nonprofit organization. I am required to work 35 hours per week, though I usually exceed that by a decent amount. I am expected to handle 50 cases per year. My hours can be flexible except on mornings when I have court. Here is a typical court day:

9:30 am -- arrive at housing court, go to each part (courtroom) where I have a case, to greet my clients and check them in with the court clerk. File answers and notices of appearance.
10 am to 1pm-- Meet with opposing counsel to attempt to settle cases on favorable terms for my clients. If this is impossible, I will generally draft and serve a motion to dismiss, which I will argue before the judge. Most judges reserve decision and mail me a written decision a few months after my oral argument
1pm to 2pm-- lunch with my coworkers, or on my own if no one from my unit has court that day. On nice days, we like to get food to go and sit outside to enjoy the city atmosphere.
2pm-- make phone calls to my clients and opposing counsel, and write emails to contacts at various government agencies on behalf of our clients, generally to help them get assistance with payment of rent
3pm-- legal research and drafting-- I usually will have an answer, a motion to dismiss, or opposition papers to draft and serve. I create my own bluebacks and take care of most of my own administrative work, like many public interest attorneys
6pm-- I usually leave around this time, though I can leave earlier or much later, depending on when my day started.

I was recently promoted from fellow to permanent staff attorney, and I love my job. I feel very lucky to have it, given the budget realities facing public interest organizations.


was your fellowship school-sponsored or ejw/skadden/americorps type?


A combination of funding sources through the organization itself. Will tell more via PM if you are curious, but I did not have to come up with a distinct project, and so I was able to jump in where the org had an existing need.




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