Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
User avatar
ExBiglawAssociate
Posts: 2160
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:06 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:51 pm

desertlaw wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:M&A wall of text.


Good god, M&A sounds incredibly boring. This thread makes me glad I'm doing litigation (which is still boring, but holy shit not as boring as M&A).


Dude, enjoy being on the same case for 4+ years in BigLaw. Litigation seems painfully boring compared to M&A. But to each their own, obviously.


But each case and every phase of a given case is different. The fact that M&A work can be accurately described in a single post makes me think it's exactly the same in every deal. Of course, it probably isn't, but that's just what I tell myself to make me feel better about choosing litigation. That, and the fact that M&A shitheads aren't even real lawyers. :P

There's a huge amount of variability in strategy for different litigation matters (even in the same general field of practice (securities, patent, FCPA, etc.)): whether to settle early, where to sue, how to sue, who to sue, why to sue. I just don't see this in M&A.

09042014
Posts: 18280
Joined: Wed Oct 14, 2009 10:47 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby 09042014 » Mon Apr 28, 2014 3:56 pm

I work with 5th years who have literally billed 95% of their hours to one case.

User avatar
McAvoy
Posts: 1584
Joined: Sun Oct 20, 2013 10:33 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby McAvoy » Mon Apr 28, 2014 4:45 pm

yomisterd wrote:As a 0L with somewhat fluid career objectives, this thread is 180. Thanks for this and thank you to all the posters.

+1, thanks everyone.

If any prosecutors could chime in too, that'd be much appreciated!

User avatar
ExBiglawAssociate
Posts: 2160
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:06 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:09 pm

Desert Fox wrote:I work with 5th years who have literally billed 95% of their hours to one case.


I was thinking it would be nice to have such job security.
Last edited by ExBiglawAssociate on Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

desertlaw
Posts: 679
Joined: Thu Oct 22, 2009 3:03 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby desertlaw » Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:10 pm

Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
desertlaw wrote:
Biglaw_Associate_V20 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:M&A wall of text.


Good god, M&A sounds incredibly boring. This thread makes me glad I'm doing litigation (which is still boring, but holy shit not as boring as M&A).


Dude, enjoy being on the same case for 4+ years in BigLaw. Litigation seems painfully boring compared to M&A. But to each their own, obviously.


But each case and every phase of a given case is different. The fact that M&A work can be accurately described in a single post makes me think it's exactly the same in every deal. Of course, it probably isn't, but that's just what I tell myself to make me feel better about choosing litigation. That, and the fact that M&A shitheads aren't even real lawyers. :P

There's a huge amount of variability in strategy for different litigation matters (even in the same general field of practice (securities, patent, FCPA, etc.)): whether to settle early, where to sue, how to sue, who to sue, why to sue. I just don't see this in M&A.


That's a pretty decent argument actually. Hadn't thought of that. You must be a good litigator.

User avatar
ExBiglawAssociate
Posts: 2160
Joined: Thu Sep 13, 2012 7:06 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby ExBiglawAssociate » Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:25 pm

desertlaw wrote:That's a pretty decent argument actually. Hadn't thought of that. You must be a good litigator.


Damn, they even teach you how to use sarcasm as an M&A attorney. Awesome.

User avatar
wert3813
Posts: 1408
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:29 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby wert3813 » Mon Apr 28, 2014 5:57 pm

If someone who did project finance (cross border or otherwise) had something to share that would be awesome. Or, for those in the know, is it so similar to the M&A/Capital Markets jobs described above that it really doesn't deserve it's own post?

Kimikho
Posts: 3971
Joined: Fri Mar 16, 2012 7:01 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Kimikho » Mon Apr 28, 2014 7:48 pm

Tag, thank you everyone so far!

User avatar
Lincoln
Posts: 1155
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:27 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Lincoln » Tue Apr 29, 2014 10:54 pm

Once this case is done in a few weeks I'll chime in. First-year NYC Big Law litigator.

tomato123
Posts: 9
Joined: Sun Apr 06, 2014 10:32 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby tomato123 » Wed Apr 30, 2014 1:03 am

Lincoln wrote:Once this case is done in a few weeks I'll chime in. First-year NYC Big Law litigator.


Very interested! Keep us posted!

And thank you everyone for sharing. Very very very helpful.

Anonymous User
Posts: 299712
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu May 01, 2014 9:36 pm

I'm a patent prosecutor. Patent prosecutors obtain patents for their clients. We work with the examiners at the USPTO (patent office).

My assignments are mainly split between responding to Office Actions and drafting applications.

Responding to an Office Action involves me writing to an examiner and explaining why they're wrong, or if they're right how my amendments are not covered by whatever other patents the examiner is citing. On those days, I come in around 11 am, read the news until lunch, work anywhere from 15 minutes to 2 hours, and then go home. I submit 10-15 "hours" for that 15 minutes to 2 hours because we're mainly fixed fee. These are the best days. I can probably bill 4000 hours in office actions. A large part of responding to an office action is pure skill, so if you have what it takes, it's the easiest job in the world. The budgets are much higher than the effort for me.

When I'm drafting an application, I have to work a bit more because it involves much more effort. I schedule an interview with the inventor and talk to him/her about the invention. Usually I try to meet them in-person. The more sophisticated clients have an in-house counsel involved, too. Then I vanish for a few weeks, draft up some paper (a lot more writing than a response to an office action), and then turn it in. The bar in the field is extremely low, so it's usually a smooth process.

Overall, I probably do about 20-25 hours of work/week and submit 30-50 fixed-fee "hours." However, when I'm drafting an application, I sometimes lose focus during the day, leave, and then have to do the work in the evening.

The work is extremely isolating. I can probably go 1 week without even saying a word to anyone in my office other than my secretary. The people are incredibly introverted. A lot of people are not efficient, so they're constantly struggling in completing the work. I really miss working in a team like I did as an engineer, so I plan on going in-house.
Last edited by Anonymous User on Thu May 01, 2014 9:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Archangel
Posts: 106
Joined: Sat Jul 07, 2012 8:08 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Archangel » Thu May 01, 2014 9:45 pm

Tag

User avatar
Elston Gunn
Posts: 3444
Joined: Mon Jul 18, 2011 4:09 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Elston Gunn » Thu May 01, 2014 11:43 pm

This is kind of anal, but I really wish people would stop tagging this very awesome thread. It's very, very easy to just bookmark the topic. It's also a sticky, so it's not like you're going to lose track of it anyway.


Anonymous User
Posts: 299712
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri May 02, 2014 1:10 am

Second project finance
Also interested in commercial litigation and/or international arbitration

smallfirmassociate
Posts: 400
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:47 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby smallfirmassociate » Fri May 02, 2014 4:18 pm

I am an associate at a small, general practice law firm with multiple offices in non-urban Midwest locations. I'm sorry if that and some other things to follow may be vague, but I would like to remain anonymous.

There isn't a "typical" day for me, so I've outlined a "typical" week, which decompresses the schedule enough to give you a decent idea of the nature and rhythm of my practice. There's no rhyme or reason as to when these things happen, so the days and times throughout the week are more or less interchangeable (minus court days). Obviously this is bare-bones and, for example, only includes a small fraction of the phone conversations I have.

Monday
8:45 - This is when I usually get to the office. Take a quick inventory of what's on my desk, double-check deadlines on cases, particularly on civil motions practice and criminal defense cases. Send an email to a prosecutor about a plea deal for a felony defendant in a drug/gun case.

9:20 - Write a letter to opposing counsel on behalf of our client city regarding a nuisance property.

9:40 - Take a phone call from a client about an ongoing child custody matter. Discuss the documents I still need from her for discovery and answer a few questions on case strategy.

10:00 - Hearing on a small criminal matter at the courthouse; reach agreement with prosecutor and continue the hearing for two months.

10:45 - Do some research about conservatorships on an ongoing memo project I should send to a partner this week.

11:30 - Lunch with wife at home. Play with kids. Get soy sauce on my shirt.

12:50 - Back at the office. Review trial information received this morning on a drunken driving case.

2:00 - Finish up a memorandum in support of a resistance to a motion for summary judgment in a case where my client is being foreclosed upon.

2:05 - Small talk with my secretary about the past weekend, weather, some ongoing cases and one particularly strange client.

2:30 - Send a letter notifying a party that my client is rescinding a contract and making a settlement offer for damages.

2:45 - Initial consult with a prospective client who was served in a suit regarding site preparation on a commercial construction project. Notice he's getting close to the deadline to file an answer. Discuss case strategy, take retainer and client signs fee agreement.

4:15 - Finish drafting answer for new client. Stack up a few papers on my desk and head home.

Tuesday

9:00 - Get into office, return a missed call from a client who has a dispute with an insurance company regarding damage to an agricultural property. Then call a state administrative agency regarding the related insurance complaint.

9:30 - Go to coffee at the diner two doors down with mostly local retirees.

10:00 - Research contract issue for appellate brief, start outlining the brief.

11:45 - Lunch with professional / fraternal organization

1:00 - Research for brief, outlining brief, surfing the internet.

3:30 - Read deposition transcript from previous week and send email to the prosecutor as part of ongoing plea negotiations in a sex offender registry case. Head home at 3:45

Wednesday

8:00 - Start driving to one of our other offices, meet up with lead counsel, discuss voir dire, review juror questionnaires.

9:15 - Commence voir dire. Monitor jurors while lead counsel asks questions, take notes, make list of strikes, etc.

1:30 - Voir dire done, go to lunch with lead counsel. Discuss pre-trial motions at lunch.

2:45 - Back in court, sans jury. Argue a motion in limine on liability, hang out while lead counsel and opposing counsel argue other motions and make evidentiary objections, etc.

4:00 - Chat with opposing counsel, head home.

Thursday

8:45 - In office. Continue writing appellate brief.

10:15 - Review proposed city ordinance from a city councilmember of a client city. Research federal employment law on a city employee benefits issue. Draft a short memo, then head home for lunch.

1:00 - Finish drafting arguments section of appellate brief, forward to partner.

3:00 - Receive exhibit list from opposing counsel on an upcoming family law hearing. Review and make notes.

4:15 - Head home.

Friday

9:15 - Come in (a bit late, Thursday was a late night...). Assemble exhibits and witness list for upcoming family law hearing. Serve on opposing counsel.

11:00 - Review letter from opposing counsel on a divorce. Read proposed stipulation, discuss with my client, make revisions and counter-offer.

1:30 - Return from lunch, return call to counsel for insurance company and negotiate settlement for my client auto accident victim. Tell counsel he is wasting my time and finally coax a slightly more favorable offer from him.

1:36 - Write nasty letter to insurance company counsel.

1:47 - Revise nasty letter to insurance company counsel. Send professional letter to insurance company counsel.

2:15 - Get a favorable plea offer from prosecutor on a weapons charge, draft guilty plea and mail to client.

3:15 - Clean up desk, realize I failed to return a call from that morning, give zero fucks.

3:20 - Review daily record, realize I forgot to bill for two things. Add them. Head home for the weekend.

User avatar
wert3813
Posts: 1408
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:29 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby wert3813 » Fri May 02, 2014 5:17 pm

smallfirmassociate wrote:I am an associate at a small, general practice law firm with multiple offices in non-urban Midwest locations. I'm sorry if that and some other things to follow may be vague, but I would like to remain anonymous.

There isn't a "typical" day for me, so I've outlined a "typical" week, which decompresses the schedule enough to give you a decent idea of the nature and rhythm of my practice. There's no rhyme or reason as to when these things happen, so the days and times throughout the week are more or less interchangeable (minus court days). Obviously this is bare-bones and, for example, only includes a small fraction of the phone conversations I have.

Monday
8:45 - This is when I usually get to the office. Take a quick inventory of what's on my desk, double-check deadlines on cases, particularly on civil motions practice and criminal defense cases. Send an email to a prosecutor about a plea deal for a felony defendant in a drug/gun case.

9:20 - Write a letter to opposing counsel on behalf of our client city regarding a nuisance property.

9:40 - Take a phone call from a client about an ongoing child custody matter. Discuss the documents I still need from her for discovery and answer a few questions on case strategy.

10:00 - Hearing on a small criminal matter at the courthouse; reach agreement with prosecutor and continue the hearing for two months.

10:45 - Do some research about conservatorships on an ongoing memo project I should send to a partner this week.

11:30 - Lunch with wife at home. Play with kids. Get soy sauce on my shirt.

12:50 - Back at the office. Review trial information received this morning on a drunken driving case.

2:00 - Finish up a memorandum in support of a resistance to a motion for summary judgment in a case where my client is being foreclosed upon.

2:05 - Small talk with my secretary about the past weekend, weather, some ongoing cases and one particularly strange client.

2:30 - Send a letter notifying a party that my client is rescinding a contract and making a settlement offer for damages.

2:45 - Initial consult with a prospective client who was served in a suit regarding site preparation on a commercial construction project. Notice he's getting close to the deadline to file an answer. Discuss case strategy, take retainer and client signs fee agreement.

4:15 - Finish drafting answer for new client. Stack up a few papers on my desk and head home.

Tuesday

9:00 - Get into office, return a missed call from a client who has a dispute with an insurance company regarding damage to an agricultural property. Then call a state administrative agency regarding the related insurance complaint.

9:30 - Go to coffee at the diner two doors down with mostly local retirees.

10:00 - Research contract issue for appellate brief, start outlining the brief.

11:45 - Lunch with professional / fraternal organization

1:00 - Research for brief, outlining brief, surfing the internet.

3:30 - Read deposition transcript from previous week and send email to the prosecutor as part of ongoing plea negotiations in a sex offender registry case. Head home at 3:45

Wednesday

8:00 - Start driving to one of our other offices, meet up with lead counsel, discuss voir dire, review juror questionnaires.

9:15 - Commence voir dire. Monitor jurors while lead counsel asks questions, take notes, make list of strikes, etc.

1:30 - Voir dire done, go to lunch with lead counsel. Discuss pre-trial motions at lunch.

2:45 - Back in court, sans jury. Argue a motion in limine on liability, hang out while lead counsel and opposing counsel argue other motions and make evidentiary objections, etc.

4:00 - Chat with opposing counsel, head home.

Thursday

8:45 - In office. Continue writing appellate brief.

10:15 - Review proposed city ordinance from a city councilmember of a client city. Research federal employment law on a city employee benefits issue. Draft a short memo, then head home for lunch.

1:00 - Finish drafting arguments section of appellate brief, forward to partner.

3:00 - Receive exhibit list from opposing counsel on an upcoming family law hearing. Review and make notes.

4:15 - Head home.

Friday

9:15 - Come in (a bit late, Thursday was a late night...). Assemble exhibits and witness list for upcoming family law hearing. Serve on opposing counsel.

11:00 - Review letter from opposing counsel on a divorce. Read proposed stipulation, discuss with my client, make revisions and counter-offer.

1:30 - Return from lunch, return call to counsel for insurance company and negotiate settlement for my client auto accident victim. Tell counsel he is wasting my time and finally coax a slightly more favorable offer from him.

1:36 - Write nasty letter to insurance company counsel.

1:47 - Revise nasty letter to insurance company counsel. Send professional letter to insurance company counsel.

2:15 - Get a favorable plea offer from prosecutor on a weapons charge, draft guilty plea and mail to client.

3:15 - Clean up desk, realize I failed to return a call from that morning, give zero fucks.

3:20 - Review daily record, realize I forgot to bill for two things. Add them. Head home for the weekend.
Wait. Really? REALLY? Like on your life this is actually your week? How much are you making? (I'll factor in that CoL is likely dirt cheap.)

smallfirmassociate
Posts: 400
Joined: Mon Jan 13, 2014 5:47 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby smallfirmassociate » Fri May 02, 2014 5:24 pm

wert3813 wrote:Wait. Really? REALLY? Like on your life this is actually your week? How much are you making? (I'll factor in that CoL is likely dirt cheap.)


Yes, that's my week. I'm on pace to bill just under 1,000 hours this year, but based on the normal yearly cycle (slow months vs. busy months), that should be around 1,100 by the end of the year. Cost of living calculator doesn't have my exact town, but based on similar areas it says I make $113k - $127k in NYC dollars per year or $55k in Lincoln, Nebraska dollars. Not quite big law money, but that's ok with me. I'm appreciative that what I do may be regarded as the part-time practice of law in some markets.

Edit: To clarify, I mentioned earlier that I was posting somewhat of a bare-bones outline of my day. Sprinkled in between the things I listed are various phone calls, letters and motions drafted by my secretary that I need to review and sign, maybe another initial consult (I usually have 1-3 per week) or whatever. But I was overall honest about the times I come in and leave, the the nature of the practice, and the generally leisurely pace to my day. Hope someone finds it useful.
Last edited by smallfirmassociate on Fri May 02, 2014 5:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
horriblegb
Posts: 394
Joined: Tue Nov 03, 2009 3:43 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby horriblegb » Fri May 02, 2014 5:45 pm

Ill chime in, though I am about as green as they get

2013 grad, started at my current firm in secondary (maybe? I dont know about the markets) market, 14 attorneys, about 4 months, I suppose it is general civil litigation -- focus on business and real estate but I have done everything from construction to criminal at this point.

AMA?? I hope i can be of some help

User avatar
JenDarby
Posts: 16251
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:02 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby JenDarby » Fri May 02, 2014 5:49 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Second project finance
Also interested in commercial litigation and/or international arbitration

I can't say what project finance does from a big law perspective, but "project finance" is a desk I cover at my bank.

It's again a lot of reviewing and negotiating NDAs, engagement letters, credit agreements, etc. I make sure substantive provisions are as they should be based on the deal specs and that the right boilerplate language is in the agreement and conforms, etc. I meet with credit committee to review the terms and see of they are acceptable and the deal can move forward. I follow deals and make amendments and restate agreements when necessary. It's riveting.

Look at the wall of text regarding M&A and make some transactional tweaks and it's similarly exciting. On the other hand I can't stand anything associated with litigation, so it works for me.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 19810
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby bk1 » Fri May 02, 2014 5:52 pm

horriblegb wrote:Ill chime in, though I am about as green as they get

2013 grad, started at my current firm in secondary (maybe? I dont know about the markets) market, 14 attorneys, about 4 months, I suppose it is general civil litigation -- focus on business and real estate but I have done everything from construction to criminal at this point.

AMA?? I hope i can be of some help

Thanks for answering questions. To try and guide this and see if you can answer in a way similar to previous responses (and if that's not possible because you're green and things have been random, that's fine too since I'm sure people will have questions as well):

Could you describe the path that a certain type of case (e.g. real estate) would flow through your firm and how do you fit in that path and what kind of work you do along the way? For example, how does a case come in? Who is then responsible for the overall management of that case? Who then divvies up the work? Which of that work is assigned to you? How is that work assigned to you? Do you have a say in which work is assigned to you? What do you normally physically do for the kind of work that you are typically assigned for a case?

sighsigh
Posts: 263
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:47 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby sighsigh » Fri May 02, 2014 5:55 pm

smallfirmassociate wrote: Yes, that's my week. I'm on pace to bill just under 1,000 hours this year, but based on the normal yearly cycle (slow months vs. busy months), that should be around 1,100 by the end of the year.

That's pretty amazing. I didn't think billable hour requirements like that existed anywhere in the entire USA.

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 12000
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby kalvano » Fri May 02, 2014 5:58 pm

Question for bk1 / mods - can 0L's post in this thread alone for questions? If not, maybe a similar thread for those willing in a different forum would be helpful as well.

User avatar
bk1
Posts: 19810
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 7:06 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby bk1 » Fri May 02, 2014 6:11 pm

kalvano wrote:Question for bk1 / mods - can 0L's post in this thread alone for questions? If not, maybe a similar thread for those willing in a different forum would be helpful as well.

That's a good question. Let me get back to you on that.

User avatar
IAFG
Posts: 6665
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 1:26 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby IAFG » Fri May 02, 2014 6:29 pm

I want so badly to post ITT but no one cares about my incredibly niche practice.




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.