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please tell me what a typical day for a lawyer is like...

whaleback89whaleback89 Registered User Posts: 79 Junior Member
edited March 2008 in Law School
can anyone tell me what daily life is like for lawyers and private firms? like what are the everyday responsibilities, how much time do you spend in court, how do you spend your time out of it. in short, what exactly do you do as a lawyer?

thanks for any response!
Post edited by whaleback89 on

Replies to: please tell me what a typical day for a lawyer is like...

  • dcfcadcfca Registered User Posts: 1,552 Senior Member
    from the vault-

    8:30 a.m.: Arrive at the office and proceed directly to an internal training session covering an aspect of the year-end reporting process. This training is part of a six-session series presented by the firm every year to prepare the associates for the upcoming reporting season.
    10:00 a.m.: Return to office to pick up file on a private biotechnology client and hurry to a meeting with a senior associate. At the meeting, discuss the list of names and addresses of the client's stockholders (mailing list), which I reviewed the day before in preparation for a Section 228 Notice of Action Taken mailing. Point out to the senior associate which addresses are missing and ask her to obtain these from the client. She also suggests where to look for additional information regarding stockholder addresses.

    10:30 a.m.: Discuss the upcoming Section 228 Notice of Action Taken with my assistant. This particular mailing will be to nearly one hundred stockholders. If you discuss upcoming large projects with your assistant in advance, she is more likely to clear her schedule of other work and help you complete the project in a timely manner.

    10:35 a.m.: Take a few minutes to check e-mails from the night before. Most of them discuss various due diligence issues that have been uncovered during document review for a merger. (I am working on a team with a mid-level associate and a partner on a merger of our client with and into another biotechnology company.)

    10:50 a.m.: Briefly review estimated corporate tax forms from California that need to be forwarded to another client. Draft a cover letter to the client to accompany the tax forms and instructions.

    11:15 a.m.: Meet with the mid-level associate to discuss various merger diligence issues and the to-do list for the day.

    11:30 a.m.: Proofread the cover letter to be sent with the tax forms and instructions and send the packet to the client.

    11:40 a.m.: At the request of the mid-level associate, call opposing counsel to discuss a new diligence question. Take notes of discussion. Copy a few documents from the master diligence file for the review of the mid-level associate and bring the copies to her office.

    12:10 p.m.: Eat lunch in office. Organize e-mails from the previous day while eating. Moving e-mails from the Inbox into client-related folders helps you to locate relevant messages quickly.

    1:00 p.m.: Revise the mailing list for the Section 228 mailing to incorporate new information provided by the senior associate. Find additional information in a closing binder that the senior associate provided during the morning meeting. Check the mailing list against the stock ledgers to ensure that all stockholders are accounted for. Give the list to assistant so that she can get an early start on preparing mailing labels.

    2:15 p.m.: Prepare a first draft of Disclosure Schedule to the Agreement and Plan of Merger. Briefly meet with the mid-level associate to give her a copy of the draft and to share thoughts about further improvement of the draft.

    6:00 p.m.: When I return to the office, I find an unexpected voice mail from a public company client regarding the latest edits to an Amendment to Form S-2, which the client plans to file with the SEC the next day. I have been involved with the drafting of the Form S-2, but not with this particular round of edits, which were made by a senior associate. Call the client back and discuss the edits with her, pointing out that she should further discuss a few of the edits with the senior associates the next morning.

    6:20 p.m.: Prepare and send a long e-mail to the controller of the client involved in a merger asking him to provide some additional information for inclusion in the disclosure schedule and to help with the preparation of a few sections of the schedule.

    6:50 p.m.: Receive and review e-mail from opposing counsel containing additional questions in connection with her due diligence review of our client's documents.

    7:00 p.m.: Call opposing counsel to discuss her due diligence questions. Answer two questions, and promise to follow up on the others and call her back the next day with the answers.

    7:15 p.m.: Forward the unanswered due diligence questions to the mid-level associate for her review.

    7:20 p.m.: Revise the draft disclosure schedule to incorporate the comments made by the mid-level associate during our last meeting. Leave a copy of the revised schedule in her office for her review.

    8:00 p.m.: Organize files and prepare a tentative -to-do-list for the next day.

    8:15 p.m.: Leave the office and hurry to catch an 8:20 train hom

    keep in mind that this is with a mid-sized firm, bigger firms would probably be even more hours.
  • unbelievablemunbelievablem Registered User Posts: 1,185 Senior Member
    it depends on what type of law you practice -- some lawyers spend little if any time in court. as a young associate, a lot of your time is spend doing research. the article cited in post #3 above was written by a partner and seems very different than the one cited in #2 above. with out knowing the level of the author of the article in post #2, it value is limited.
  • whaleback89whaleback89 Registered User Posts: 79 Junior Member
    well im looking into international law and ill probably only be an associate

    thanks for the responses so far!
  • columbia2007columbia2007 Registered User Posts: 906 Member
    The people who are "only associates" can be the ones who work the hardest, getting slapped around for much less pay than and far less appreciation from the partners.
  • ArcesenaArcesena Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    I would like to know the typical day of a criminal defense lawyer is like or a district attorney?
  • sharkattacksharkattack Registered User Posts: 12 New Member
    it is off da hook, lolz!

    well, not exactly. my mom was a lawyer, and all i can tell you is that she worked long, long hours. she hated her job, so she eventually quit.
  • futurenyustudentfuturenyustudent Registered User Posts: 5,366 Senior Member
    How much of a paycut should I expect if I were to go inhouse after, say, 10 years at a law firm?

    With 10 years experience, I don't think they'll start you at the bottom of the payscale, but just wondering.
  • alwaysamomalwaysamom Registered User Posts: 11,522 Senior Member
    future, as with many questions like this, the answer is 'it depends'. Depends on where you've been for ten years, what type of work you've been doing, what you're earning, and, not the least of which is, the ease with which you can find an in-house position. They are not plentiful. In my H's experience, he left a biglaw firm after 20 years of practice to go to a client as General Counsel. His situation was not the norm for this type of transfer, as, obviously, GC positions are even more scarce than simple in-house positions. However, he took no 'paycut', but rather was able to negotiate a larger overall compensation package with better benefits and perqs, in addition to $$.

    The lawyers whom he has hired in his current position in the past ten years have almost all been from biglaw firms, very experienced, the cream of the crop at the these big firms, most, but not all, prior to them becoming partners. These type of moves usually occur after several levels of interviews and negotiations, and what position you will have in-house. With some corporations, the 'payscale' may depend on what level, and title, you are given, and how the negotiations work within those parameters. It will vary from employer to employer but I can tell you that in my H's experience, although new hires may earn less, initially, in terms of straight salary, when the total package is looked at, including bonus, benefits, stock options, cars, etc., it's not the huge difference that many may expect.
  • futurenyustudentfuturenyustudent Registered User Posts: 5,366 Senior Member
    Assuming best case scenario, and I work at like one of those top firms in corporate for 10 years, and I get an inhouse position at like an investment bank, would 20% be a good estimate?

    I mean in terms of straight salary.
  • cartera45cartera45 Registered User Posts: 12,442 Senior Member
    It's not typical to work at a law firm for 10 years and then go to an investment bank. After 10 years in a firm, you would be looking at Assistant or Deputy General Counsel positions hopefully, but may have to start at the counsel level. In the DC area, I am working with several companies now to fill in house positions. One is an asset management company needing a corporate/ captital markets counsel from a "biglaw" firm with a top law school degree and 3-5 yrs experience. Salary will probably be in the $160-$170k plus about a 30% bonus. I have a Deputy GC position with a salary in the $185k range and a target bonus of about a 20% of that. The combination of base and salary will make this competetive for associates at many firms. We just placed an attorney with about 14 yrs of securities experience in a position with a salary in the $140k range - so it can vary quite a bit. I will say that the competition for these in house positions is fierce - some of the resumes we get are pretty spectacular.
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