Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

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lawposeidon

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby lawposeidon » Sun Jun 03, 2018 9:08 pm

I work in plaintiff's class action litigation. I get in at 9AM, do assigned tasks all day. Document review, briefs, deposition prep. I sit at my desk all day no court.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Jul 17, 2018 8:41 pm

lawposeidon wrote:I work in plaintiff's class action litigation. I get in at 9AM, do assigned tasks all day. Document review, briefs, deposition prep. I sit at my desk all day no court.


This sounds miserable. Plaintiff's work--no thanks.

Volga9673

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Volga9673 » Wed Jul 18, 2018 1:31 pm

Sticking this

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Jul 18, 2018 3:19 pm

I'm an AUSA in a well-regarded district. There is no typical day for an AUSA, but I will try to give you a sense of what a day could look like as an AUSA.

5:30 - 6:30 - Workout. I work out 3-4 days a week. If I'm too tired to make it to the gym, I'll do insanity in the comfort of my home, but I generally go to the gym.
6:45 - 7:30 - Shower and breakfast. I get the WSJ delivered, so I'll read that. If I'm in the mood, I'll flip to morning joe.
7:30 - 8:00 - Meditation or Positive Visualization exercises.
8:00 - 8:30 - Walk to work if the weather is nice. Usually listen to podcasts. If it's humid or raining, I'll drive. Takes about 25-30 minutes either way
8:30 - 9:15 - Review my calendar to see what's on tap. See that I have a 9:30 meeting re: a new case. Review the case file, draft an investigation plan, review likely charges and draft an agenda to keep me on task for the meeting (as the AUSA, I lead most of the meetings on my cases).
9:15 - 9:30 - Agent on another matter just pops by to chat about his case. Though I'm busy, having a good relationship with your agents is key, so I chop it up with him for a few minutes and discuss the investigation. Good that we chatted because he still owes me some discovery that he promises he'll get to me this week. I get up at 9:30 and tell him I have a meeting.
9:30 - 10:00 - Meeting with Agents and analysts on a new case. At the inception of a case, agents know more because they have done some administrative subpoenas or have a cooperator. The discussion revolves around how to use GJ subpoenas to develop more evidence or ECPA if there's relevant electronic evidence like email or social media accounts. We discuss leads that need to be run down and I always ask for any reports generated by the agent because they are discoverable. I also remind my agents that anything they write/text/email about the case is likely Jencks and is discoverable. I make sure I hammer organization for discovery because the best cases can go up in flames if discovery is a mess.
10:00 - 10:30 - Have a call at 10am with main justice to discuss status of approvals for certain actions (usually MLATs or extraditions or certain types of prosecutions)
10:30 - 10:45 - One of my colleagues pops by to shoot the breeze. We make lunch plans.
10:45 - 12:00 - Draft a statement of facts for a plea agreement. Statement of facts give the factual basis for the plea agreement. Usually the government drafts the statement of facts which the defendant adopts, if accurate. Once I'm done with SOF, i review the already completed plea agreement papers for typos or nits and route to my supervisor for approval.
12:00 - 1:00 - Lunch with my colleague. She invites some other prosecutors. We chop it up at lunch and discuss what's happening in the office, our weekends, family, etc. Bonding with colleagues is a great part of the job.
1:15 - 1:45 - Prepare for an initial appearance, and a sentencing. An initial appearance requires relatively little work, you simply go to court and the judge will ask you to advise the defendant of the maximum penalties, but you have to know any applicable mandatory minimums and any conflicts. Sentencings are more substantial as you must recommend a sentence to the court and why. Usually we submit sentencing papers outlining our position, but you, generally, want to make at least a brief argument for the sentence you're seeking.
2:00 - 2:45 - Go to court for aforementioned initial and sentencing
3:00 - 3:30 - Agent comes by to do some last minute chatting before we go into the grand jury to seek an indictment for a different case. I am usually prepared for Grand Jury well in advance of going so my discussion with the agent is mainly for his benefit. I ask him to review the indictment one final time and ask if there's anything that needs to be changed (the answer will be no because by this time, I've reviewed the indictment a million times with the agent and know its good).
3:30 - 4:00 - Present case in front of the grand jury. This usually involves doing an examination of some witness or a government agent.
4:00 - 5:00 - Get back from grand jury. Check email. Wow. Lots of stuff. Usually I triage. I try to do anything I can do in two minutes or less first like scheduling meetings and answering basic questions. I also try to respond to defense counsel inquiries pretty quickly. I then review requests for subpoenas - which are simply court orders. I make sure I understand the basis for the subpoena and the relevance to our investigation. A good AUSA can usually do this pretty quickly. Other things like requests for search warrants or more significant investigative tools will require a more in depth discussion. I make a note to call agents requesting these tomorrow.
5:00 - 5:30 - After checking email and responding, I review a search warrant affidavit for probable cause that an agent gave me the previous day. I make some suggestions to the agent for areas to review to beef up the affidavit and request another draft.
5:30 - 7:00 - The office starts to get quiet because support staff and agents start to leave. I start focusing on drafting a response to a complicated motion to suppress. We have to do our own legal research and we write the entire brief. When we're done, we file it. There's nobody to look over our shoulder to make sure everything is good to go. Its my responsibility alone. Of course, i don't finish because good writing takes a lot of time, but I have an outline of the arguments I want to make and some good legal research to back me up. I'm confident the suppression motion will be denied.
7:00 - 7:15 - check my inter-office mailbox. Supervisor has approved the plea. I email defense counsel the plea agreement and ask for signatures. I email the agent who randomly popped in to remind him about his promise for discovery this week.
7:15 - colleague comes by and asks if I want to grab dinner. I say sure. We leave the office to go eat and chop it up.

Of course, some days are heavy with reviewing discovery. Some days are focused on trial prep. Some days are longer - if I'm going to trial, I'll be in the office until midnight. If I'm not terribly busy, I might leave at six to go play flag football. So it could all be different, but an AUSA is usually focused on: (1) investigating cases; (2) developing and bringing charges; (3) focusing on trial prep and plea negotiations; (4) trial; (5) post trial procedures like sentencing and reviewing the pre-sentence report; and (6) handling any appeals from cases that the AUSA has handled. And I work on 3-4 of these things on different cases in a typical day.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Aug 12, 2018 7:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I'm an AUSA in a well-regarded district. There is no typical day for an AUSA, but I will try to give you a sense of what a day could look like as an AUSA.

5:30 - 6:30 - Workout. I work out 3-4 days a week. If I'm too tired to make it to the gym, I'll do insanity in the comfort of my home, but I generally go to the gym.
6:45 - 7:30 - Shower and breakfast. I get the WSJ delivered, so I'll read that. If I'm in the mood, I'll flip to morning joe.
7:30 - 8:00 - Meditation or Positive Visualization exercises.
8:00 - 8:30 - Walk to work if the weather is nice. Usually listen to podcasts. If it's humid or raining, I'll drive. Takes about 25-30 minutes either way
8:30 - 9:15 - Review my calendar to see what's on tap. See that I have a 9:30 meeting re: a new case. Review the case file, draft an investigation plan, review likely charges and draft an agenda to keep me on task for the meeting (as the AUSA, I lead most of the meetings on my cases).
9:15 - 9:30 - Agent on another matter just pops by to chat about his case. Though I'm busy, having a good relationship with your agents is key, so I chop it up with him for a few minutes and discuss the investigation. Good that we chatted because he still owes me some discovery that he promises he'll get to me this week. I get up at 9:30 and tell him I have a meeting.
9:30 - 10:00 - Meeting with Agents and analysts on a new case. At the inception of a case, agents know more because they have done some administrative subpoenas or have a cooperator. The discussion revolves around how to use GJ subpoenas to develop more evidence or ECPA if there's relevant electronic evidence like email or social media accounts. We discuss leads that need to be run down and I always ask for any reports generated by the agent because they are discoverable. I also remind my agents that anything they write/text/email about the case is likely Jencks and is discoverable. I make sure I hammer organization for discovery because the best cases can go up in flames if discovery is a mess.
10:00 - 10:30 - Have a call at 10am with main justice to discuss status of approvals for certain actions (usually MLATs or extraditions or certain types of prosecutions)
10:30 - 10:45 - One of my colleagues pops by to shoot the breeze. We make lunch plans.
10:45 - 12:00 - Draft a statement of facts for a plea agreement. Statement of facts give the factual basis for the plea agreement. Usually the government drafts the statement of facts which the defendant adopts, if accurate. Once I'm done with SOF, i review the already completed plea agreement papers for typos or nits and route to my supervisor for approval.
12:00 - 1:00 - Lunch with my colleague. She invites some other prosecutors. We chop it up at lunch and discuss what's happening in the office, our weekends, family, etc. Bonding with colleagues is a great part of the job.
1:15 - 1:45 - Prepare for an initial appearance, and a sentencing. An initial appearance requires relatively little work, you simply go to court and the judge will ask you to advise the defendant of the maximum penalties, but you have to know any applicable mandatory minimums and any conflicts. Sentencings are more substantial as you must recommend a sentence to the court and why. Usually we submit sentencing papers outlining our position, but you, generally, want to make at least a brief argument for the sentence you're seeking.
2:00 - 2:45 - Go to court for aforementioned initial and sentencing
3:00 - 3:30 - Agent comes by to do some last minute chatting before we go into the grand jury to seek an indictment for a different case. I am usually prepared for Grand Jury well in advance of going so my discussion with the agent is mainly for his benefit. I ask him to review the indictment one final time and ask if there's anything that needs to be changed (the answer will be no because by this time, I've reviewed the indictment a million times with the agent and know its good).
3:30 - 4:00 - Present case in front of the grand jury. This usually involves doing an examination of some witness or a government agent.
4:00 - 5:00 - Get back from grand jury. Check email. Wow. Lots of stuff. Usually I triage. I try to do anything I can do in two minutes or less first like scheduling meetings and answering basic questions. I also try to respond to defense counsel inquiries pretty quickly. I then review requests for subpoenas - which are simply court orders. I make sure I understand the basis for the subpoena and the relevance to our investigation. A good AUSA can usually do this pretty quickly. Other things like requests for search warrants or more significant investigative tools will require a more in depth discussion. I make a note to call agents requesting these tomorrow.
5:00 - 5:30 - After checking email and responding, I review a search warrant affidavit for probable cause that an agent gave me the previous day. I make some suggestions to the agent for areas to review to beef up the affidavit and request another draft.
5:30 - 7:00 - The office starts to get quiet because support staff and agents start to leave. I start focusing on drafting a response to a complicated motion to suppress. We have to do our own legal research and we write the entire brief. When we're done, we file it. There's nobody to look over our shoulder to make sure everything is good to go. Its my responsibility alone. Of course, i don't finish because good writing takes a lot of time, but I have an outline of the arguments I want to make and some good legal research to back me up. I'm confident the suppression motion will be denied.
7:00 - 7:15 - check my inter-office mailbox. Supervisor has approved the plea. I email defense counsel the plea agreement and ask for signatures. I email the agent who randomly popped in to remind him about his promise for discovery this week.
7:15 - colleague comes by and asks if I want to grab dinner. I say sure. We leave the office to go eat and chop it up.

Of course, some days are heavy with reviewing discovery. Some days are focused on trial prep. Some days are longer - if I'm going to trial, I'll be in the office until midnight. If I'm not terribly busy, I might leave at six to go play flag football. So it could all be different, but an AUSA is usually focused on: (1) investigating cases; (2) developing and bringing charges; (3) focusing on trial prep and plea negotiations; (4) trial; (5) post trial procedures like sentencing and reviewing the pre-sentence report; and (6) handling any appeals from cases that the AUSA has handled. And I work on 3-4 of these things on different cases in a typical day.


Wow this is really great stuff. What type of cases do you usually prosecute?

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:33 pm

Major market in a jd preferred/advantage role:

6-730 am: wake up, shower, half hour of tv, get kid ready for day care
730-830 am: commute to work
830-930 am: respond to emails, catch up with work buddies
930-1030 am: break time (online shopping, reading, etc.)
13-12 pm: markup and negotiate contracts
12-1 pm: lunch outside the office
1-230 pm: meetings and continue to markup contracts
230-330 pm: break time (chit chat, maybe take a walk, reading online)
330-5 pm: respond to emails, more contracts to markup/meetings
5-6 pm: commute home, pick up kid
6-8 pm: help cook dinner, eat and clean up
8-10:00 pm: help prepare for the day tomorrow (mostly kid stuff)
10-6am: sleep

Schedule varies a little bit but overall life is so much better after leaving practice. Stress levels are a lot lower

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 27, 2018 1:36 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Major market in a jd preferred/advantage role:

6-730 am: wake up, shower, half hour of tv, get kid ready for day care
730-830 am: commute to work
830-930 am: respond to emails, catch up with work buddies
930-1030 am: break time (online shopping, reading, etc.)
13-12 pm: markup and negotiate contracts
12-1 pm: lunch outside the office
1-230 pm: meetings and continue to markup contracts
230-330 pm: break time (chit chat, maybe take a walk, reading online)
330-5 pm: respond to emails, more contracts to markup/meetings
5-6 pm: commute home, pick up kid
6-8 pm: help cook dinner, eat and clean up
8-10:00 pm: help prepare for the day tomorrow (mostly kid stuff)
10-6am: sleep

Schedule varies a little bit but overall life is so much better after leaving practice. Stress levels are a lot lower


what do you get paid for your 3-4.5 hours a day of work?

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 27, 2018 4:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Major market in a jd preferred/advantage role:

6-730 am: wake up, shower, half hour of tv, get kid ready for day care
730-830 am: commute to work
830-930 am: respond to emails, catch up with work buddies
930-1030 am: break time (online shopping, reading, etc.)
13-12 pm: markup and negotiate contracts
12-1 pm: lunch outside the office
1-230 pm: meetings and continue to markup contracts
230-330 pm: break time (chit chat, maybe take a walk, reading online)
330-5 pm: respond to emails, more contracts to markup/meetings
5-6 pm: commute home, pick up kid
6-8 pm: help cook dinner, eat and clean up
8-10:00 pm: help prepare for the day tomorrow (mostly kid stuff)
10-6am: sleep

Schedule varies a little bit but overall life is so much better after leaving practice. Stress levels are a lot lower


what do you get paid for your 3-4.5 hours a day of work?


Low 6 figures. Doesn't stretch far in my market but worth it to me.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:07 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Major market in a jd preferred/advantage role:

6-730 am: wake up, shower, half hour of tv, get kid ready for day care
730-830 am: commute to work
830-930 am: respond to emails, catch up with work buddies
930-1030 am: break time (online shopping, reading, etc.)
13-12 pm: markup and negotiate contracts
12-1 pm: lunch outside the office
1-230 pm: meetings and continue to markup contracts
230-330 pm: break time (chit chat, maybe take a walk, reading online)
330-5 pm: respond to emails, more contracts to markup/meetings
5-6 pm: commute home, pick up kid
6-8 pm: help cook dinner, eat and clean up
8-10:00 pm: help prepare for the day tomorrow (mostly kid stuff)
10-6am: sleep

Schedule varies a little bit but overall life is so much better after leaving practice. Stress levels are a lot lower


That is unreal. Can you talk more about what you do exactly? Or, what kind of company? Just any info. I'd love a gig like this.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Aug 31, 2018 11:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Major market in a jd preferred/advantage role:

6-730 am: wake up, shower, half hour of tv, get kid ready for day care
730-830 am: commute to work
830-930 am: respond to emails, catch up with work buddies
930-1030 am: break time (online shopping, reading, etc.)
13-12 pm: markup and negotiate contracts
12-1 pm: lunch outside the office
1-230 pm: meetings and continue to markup contracts
230-330 pm: break time (chit chat, maybe take a walk, reading online)
330-5 pm: respond to emails, more contracts to markup/meetings
5-6 pm: commute home, pick up kid
6-8 pm: help cook dinner, eat and clean up
8-10:00 pm: help prepare for the day tomorrow (mostly kid stuff)
10-6am: sleep

Schedule varies a little bit but overall life is so much better after leaving practice. Stress levels are a lot lower



Sounds pretty ideal. Do you work for an insurance company as an underwriter and/or broker?

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 03, 2018 2:58 pm

Bump to ask what the above job is. Sounds ideal and I'd leave big law for that easily.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 08, 2018 12:36 am

Bored, so I might as well... Low COL Market JD Preferred Legal Compliance Manager role.


7:00 am - Wake up and check some emails in bed.

7:15 am- Take 45 minute shower to gain full consciousness.

8:15 am - Leave for work and start boxing podcast on phone.

9:00 am - Get to work and talk to coworkers in the legal department.

9:30 am - Read and answer emails from outside counsel and internal stakeholders regarding export controls, sanctions, FCPA and other compliance issues.

10:30 am - Meetings with outside counsel and other key stakeholders.

12:00 pm - Lunch with coworkers at a restaurant.

1:00 pm - Get back from lunch and either draft licenses or review/approve compliance language in agreements, put out fires, or attend more meetings. Also, work with members of the business to assess legal risks, investigate potential violations, remediate (basically say yes and no/protect the company).

4:00 pm - Wrap up high priority issues.

4:30 pm - Go home

Rest of the night check and answer one of emails from international outside counsels that are in different time zones.

I really like what I do and the work and investigations can be really interesting.

shannonsharpe

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby shannonsharpe » Sun Sep 09, 2018 11:37 pm

First-year Corporate Transactional Associate at a NJ + NY smaller mid-sized firm. 1400 billable. I'm making around six figures (includes bonuses) plus full benefits. No weekend work, but some days are pretty long, especially if there's a big deal closing. I've had issues with partners who send me projects pretty late, but that doesn't happen often. Business casual, generally very relaxed environment.

6:30- Wake up, make and drink some coffee and read over the news.

7:30- Drive to work

8:30- Arrive at work. Usually, just a managing partner and his assistant/secretary are there. Most attorneys arrive after 9:30. Check emails, make a list of assignments and read the news again. Most days I don't get bigger assignments until the afternoon.

9:30/10- Start working on billables/assignments. Generally, as a first year, you are working on smaller deals and basic company formations/drafting agreements.

12:30- Eat lunch at my desk and watch youtube.

1:00- More billables. A partner usually gives me a boring research assignment at this point. I continue working on billables until later in the afternoon.

4:00- As I finish up my work, a partner usually hits me with a complex, time-sensitive assignment. My plans to leave at 5:30 have been squashed.

6:30- I bill another couple of hours and leave.

7:30- Get home and eat dinner/spend time with my girlfriend.

9:00- In bed, watch more TV and play online poker.

11:00- Take some CBD and pass out.

Happy to answer any questions.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Oct 31, 2018 3:33 pm

I’m a DC biglaw regulatory associate. I do a lot of different types of tasks, and there really isn’t a typical day, so I think it’s probably more helpful if I talk about the types of matters/work I actually do.

In terms of workload/lifestyle, I bill ~2000 hours a year (including pro bono), and it’s fairly steady with few fire drills (I don’t think I have ever billed more than 220 in a month). That means a typical day is something like 9:30-7:00, with a good bit of flexibility/variability. There’s a night where I leave at 11 (or 1 in the morning) every now and then, but it’s pretty rare, and I’ve never had anything close to an all-nighter. I work maybe 2-4 hours most weekends. Once a month or less, I’ll work a full weekend day, but I have just as many weekends where I don’t work at all.

I leave at 6 if I’m not busy, though also often log back in for a while at home if something comes up, or if there’s something fairly mindless I need to catch up on. Unless there’s a reason to anticipate needing to be on-call, I feel free to make plans after work, and rarely break them. That said, I still check my phone in case there’s something urgent, and I’m very responsive until 10-11 if I’m not out. All in all, I still work more than all of my non-lawyer friends, but it feels sustainable.

In terms of substance, it’s probably helpful to provide some context about regulatory work generally. In my experience, regulatory lawyers will usually do a combination of (1) pure advisory work in their substantive area, which can include anything from formal memos to quick calls with a client to walk through a minor issue that has come up, and (2) either quasi-transactional work or government enforcement/investigations work. So a bank regulatory lawyer might, in addition to advisory work, either focus on regulatory approvals/charter applications, etc. or regulatory enforcement actions by financial regulators. In this sense, regulatory lawyers have some elements of either being niche transactional or white collar lawyers.

I focus on the investigations/enforcement side, though I will do some transactional-type work as well. Typically I’m working with a partner and that’s it. On more complex investigations, there will may be a senior associate on the matter as well. (I’m a third year.) Here are some examples of the kinds of tasks I do:

Get a short email from a client I work with regularly about a new fact pattern that has come up and asking for a call. Spend thirty minutes going over the regulations/guidance I’ve previously reviewed on other issues and thinking through how it would apply to these facts, and what questions I need to ask the client about the facts. Talk to the partner for 5 minutes before the call. Jump on the call, let the client describe the facts in more detail, ask questions, provide some preliminary reactions (to the extent the partner doesn’t cover it), and offer to follow up. Talk to the partner again afterward for 5 minutes, do some follow up research and then draft a formal-ish email to send to the client analyzing the issue. The partner will review the email, but usually will send as is (signing both our names) or maybe make some non-substantive edits.

A client discovers a potential regulatory issue it has, or is considering offering a new product, but the law on the issue is not clear. The client asks for a formal memo analyzing the legal framework and risks. I talk to the partner for 20 minutes to make a research and writing plan. I spend 8-12 hours researching (only minimal case law research–mostly regulations, agency guidance/statements, enforcement actions, and similar authority) and put together a first draft of the memo with minimal oversight. The partner provides comments and rewrites. Depending on the partner, this usually will be fairly minimal. I implement, do a little follow up research, and then we send it off to the client and then offer to have a call discussing the findings. (Anything very concerning we would want to discuss on the phone instead of putting in writing.)

A regulator sends a letter to a client that they are considering an enforcement action. The partner and I have a call with the client and ask for lots of different documents from the client on the relevant facts. Once we get these, I catalogue them and review them, and then draft a fairly informal summary of the key points for the partner and walk through the issues with him/her. Then we have a follow up call with the client to talk through some factual questions and outline our approach for the response. Then I start drafting the letter to the regulator, and we’ll go through a few drafts. The hardest part is nailing down the factual issues with the client, who often are more blasé about making sure the facts are all 100% accurate in our response.

Sometimes I will get staffed on more pure white-collar matters (i.e., involving agencies with criminal enforcement authority) related to my substantive area. I get staffed on these because I like doing them, mostly, even though these are a much bigger time suck than typical regulatory enforcement matters. These are bigger investigations, and on these matters I may need to do a bit of run-of-the mill custodial email review. But I typically get more substantive work than other associates at my level (who are usually general white collar/lit) because I get to be the “subject matter expert.” It’s a really nice spot to be in. Then there’s of course the typical investigation tasks like drafting interview outlines, note-taking of interviews, drafting a chronology, etc.
Sometimes I will get involved with regulatory due diligence in my area, which means I and a partner/counsel review a very narrow part of a transaction for compliance with applicable laws and regulations. We then draft a due diligence memo on the particular topic.

I do a bunch of other things as well (like negotiating a consent order with the government, drafting comment letters, drafting a compliance plan after a consent order) but that gives you a good flavor. I’m genuinely quite happy with my job. I feel like I get to develop real substantive expertise, get good responsibility, and the workload is manageable and sustainable. Exit options are hard to say, because I haven’t tried to leave, but I feel I have the necessary experience for a lot of the in-house postings I see in my industry, and there are also a good number of government options. I think this will depend a lot on industry though.

PartiallyLearnedHand

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby PartiallyLearnedHand » Fri Nov 02, 2018 11:50 am

Anonymous User wrote:I’m a DC biglaw regulatory associate. I do a lot of different types of tasks, and there really isn’t a typical day, so I think it’s probably more helpful if I talk about the types of matters/work I actually do.

In terms of workload/lifestyle, I bill ~2000 hours a year (including pro bono), and it’s fairly steady with few fire drills (I don’t think I have ever billed more than 220 in a month). That means a typical day is something like 9:30-7:00, with a good bit of flexibility/variability. There’s a night where I leave at 11 (or 1 in the morning) every now and then, but it’s pretty rare, and I’ve never had anything close to an all-nighter. I work maybe 2-4 hours most weekends. Once a month or less, I’ll work a full weekend day, but I have just as many weekends where I don’t work at all.

I leave at 6 if I’m not busy, though also often log back in for a while at home if something comes up, or if there’s something fairly mindless I need to catch up on. Unless there’s a reason to anticipate needing to be on-call, I feel free to make plans after work, and rarely break them. That said, I still check my phone in case there’s something urgent, and I’m very responsive until 10-11 if I’m not out. All in all, I still work more than all of my non-lawyer friends, but it feels sustainable.

In terms of substance, it’s probably helpful to provide some context about regulatory work generally. In my experience, regulatory lawyers will usually do a combination of (1) pure advisory work in their substantive area, which can include anything from formal memos to quick calls with a client to walk through a minor issue that has come up, and (2) either quasi-transactional work or government enforcement/investigations work. So a bank regulatory lawyer might, in addition to advisory work, either focus on regulatory approvals/charter applications, etc. or regulatory enforcement actions by financial regulators. In this sense, regulatory lawyers have some elements of either being niche transactional or white collar lawyers.

I focus on the investigations/enforcement side, though I will do some transactional-type work as well. Typically I’m working with a partner and that’s it. On more complex investigations, there will may be a senior associate on the matter as well. (I’m a third year.) Here are some examples of the kinds of tasks I do:

Get a short email from a client I work with regularly about a new fact pattern that has come up and asking for a call. Spend thirty minutes going over the regulations/guidance I’ve previously reviewed on other issues and thinking through how it would apply to these facts, and what questions I need to ask the client about the facts. Talk to the partner for 5 minutes before the call. Jump on the call, let the client describe the facts in more detail, ask questions, provide some preliminary reactions (to the extent the partner doesn’t cover it), and offer to follow up. Talk to the partner again afterward for 5 minutes, do some follow up research and then draft a formal-ish email to send to the client analyzing the issue. The partner will review the email, but usually will send as is (signing both our names) or maybe make some non-substantive edits.

A client discovers a potential regulatory issue it has, or is considering offering a new product, but the law on the issue is not clear. The client asks for a formal memo analyzing the legal framework and risks. I talk to the partner for 20 minutes to make a research and writing plan. I spend 8-12 hours researching (only minimal case law research–mostly regulations, agency guidance/statements, enforcement actions, and similar authority) and put together a first draft of the memo with minimal oversight. The partner provides comments and rewrites. Depending on the partner, this usually will be fairly minimal. I implement, do a little follow up research, and then we send it off to the client and then offer to have a call discussing the findings. (Anything very concerning we would want to discuss on the phone instead of putting in writing.)

A regulator sends a letter to a client that they are considering an enforcement action. The partner and I have a call with the client and ask for lots of different documents from the client on the relevant facts. Once we get these, I catalogue them and review them, and then draft a fairly informal summary of the key points for the partner and walk through the issues with him/her. Then we have a follow up call with the client to talk through some factual questions and outline our approach for the response. Then I start drafting the letter to the regulator, and we’ll go through a few drafts. The hardest part is nailing down the factual issues with the client, who often are more blasé about making sure the facts are all 100% accurate in our response.

Sometimes I will get staffed on more pure white-collar matters (i.e., involving agencies with criminal enforcement authority) related to my substantive area. I get staffed on these because I like doing them, mostly, even though these are a much bigger time suck than typical regulatory enforcement matters. These are bigger investigations, and on these matters I may need to do a bit of run-of-the mill custodial email review. But I typically get more substantive work than other associates at my level (who are usually general white collar/lit) because I get to be the “subject matter expert.” It’s a really nice spot to be in. Then there’s of course the typical investigation tasks like drafting interview outlines, note-taking of interviews, drafting a chronology, etc.
Sometimes I will get involved with regulatory due diligence in my area, which means I and a partner/counsel review a very narrow part of a transaction for compliance with applicable laws and regulations. We then draft a due diligence memo on the particular topic.

I do a bunch of other things as well (like negotiating a consent order with the government, drafting comment letters, drafting a compliance plan after a consent order) but that gives you a good flavor. I’m genuinely quite happy with my job. I feel like I get to develop real substantive expertise, get good responsibility, and the workload is manageable and sustainable. Exit options are hard to say, because I haven’t tried to leave, but I feel I have the necessary experience for a lot of the in-house postings I see in my industry, and there are also a good number of government options. I think this will depend a lot on industry though.


Thank you very much for this. I am going to a firm in DC this summer where I will have the opportunity to some international trade work. It is an area of the law that I am very interested in having spent this past summer at a regulatory agency doing international trade work. Do you have any further insight into the lives/schedules/types of work that a biglaw international trade attorney might have/do? Is it much different from your own schedule? Feel free to PM me to discuss if you would rather do so. Thanks again for your insights.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Nov 02, 2018 2:38 pm

PartiallyLearnedHand wrote:I am very interested in having spent this past summer at a regulatory agency doing international trade work. Do you have any further insight into the lives/schedules/types of work that a biglaw international trade attorney might have/do? Is it much different from your own schedule? Feel free to PM me to discuss if you would rather do so. Thanks again for your insights.

Sure, no problem. I’m not always sure what people mean by “international trade” and I’m not super familiar with the area, though my firm does this work. I assume you don’t mean CFIUS, but that type of work is verrrry deal-focused (and often involves China), so it can be a brutal lifestyle as far as regulatory work goes.

Assuming you mean things like export controls, anti dumping etc, my impression is the type of work and lifestyle is very similar at my firm to what I described, though like I said I don’t have a ton of experience with it.

PartiallyLearnedHand

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby PartiallyLearnedHand » Sat Nov 03, 2018 12:41 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
PartiallyLearnedHand wrote:I am very interested in having spent this past summer at a regulatory agency doing international trade work. Do you have any further insight into the lives/schedules/types of work that a biglaw international trade attorney might have/do? Is it much different from your own schedule? Feel free to PM me to discuss if you would rather do so. Thanks again for your insights.

Sure, no problem. I’m not always sure what people mean by “international trade” and I’m not super familiar with the area, though my firm does this work. I assume you don’t mean CFIUS, but that type of work is verrrry deal-focused (and often involves China), so it can be a brutal lifestyle as far as regulatory work goes.

Assuming you mean things like export controls, anti dumping etc, my impression is the type of work and lifestyle is very similar at my firm to what I described, though like I said I don’t have a ton of experience with it.


Yes, I was mainly referring to anti-dumping, countervailing duties, and export control matters, as I do not think CFIUS work is nearly as common as those. Thank you again for sharing. I’ve talked to quite a few trade attorneys, but your insight into your schedule as a regulatory attorney has been some of the more candid information I’ve gotten. Thanks again!

denmarkwahlberg

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby denmarkwahlberg » Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:01 pm

drudgery and depression

patent_guy

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby patent_guy » Tue Nov 06, 2018 12:06 am

Lost my old account I had as a student, so here’s to a new one and trying to share my experience. Recent grad (May 2018) and recently learned I passed the bar. Got a job doing patent pros (which I went to law school for) in a mid size firm in a large secondary market. Think Atlanta, Houston, Chicago, etc. Did an SA 2L summer and was able to work part time as a 3L, so I’m more up to speed than I think a typical new grad would be.

6:30 wake up, shower, check email, make coffee, grab something for breakfast. I check email first thing when I wake up so I can try and get an idea how my day is going to go and get mentally prepared for any shit that might come up.

7:45-8 leave for work

8:15-8:30 get into office, check new emails from our docketing system that usually come in during my commute

8:30-12:30 knock out small stuff for the day. This could be finalizing a response for filing due today, quick changes to any docs fixing to go out to a client soon, etc. Sometimes I can get some substantive work done toward the end of the morning, but this is where I do a lot of question asking and smaller stuff so that I can get ahead of big issues that might come up in the afternoon.

12:30-1 lunch at my desk. Check the news, read ESPN, etc.

1-6:30ish substantive work. Drafting responses and applications. Some fire drills scattered throughout the afternoon but it’s usually pretty steady.

6:30 ish leave. Have dinner with my SO, watch some tv, whatever. Starting to pick up to the point where I’m working at home in the evenings as well now that I’m getting into the swing of things and they’re starting to trust me more.

Overall it’s a good gig and I’m grateful for it. My background isn’t EE, so I had a tougher time at OCI than i expected but managed to land this. Pay isn’t big law money, but it’s comfortably into six figs, and I’m getting very good experience. The weekend and evening work will pick up eventually, but for now it hasn’t been bad at all.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 06, 2018 2:57 pm

Recent grad currently interviewing for jobs (mainly public/government attorney).

Can anyone go a bit more in-depth about general things they do when approaching a new case/assignment? To be more specific, what are the things you try to do to be more efficient with time and show supervising attorneys you are reliable?

Thanks



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