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What is it like to be a Lawyer?

I have been wondering since I was five?
#law #criminal-justice #lawyer


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Joseph’s Answer

In addition to "it depends," the practice of law is generally a service-oriented field. You, as the lawyer, provide legal advice to a person (or company) and that legal advice is going to be unique to the way you engage with people who are different from you, the way you communicate, and your experiences. Sometimes your client will appreciate your advice and follow it, and sometimes your client will ignore your advice.

Lawyers also advocate on behalf of their clients. Lawyers will fight for positions and statements that the client (not the lawyer) wants to make, which ties-back to "the practice of law is generally a service-oriented field."

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Amanda’s Answer

It depends! There are many, many different types of lawyers. The best way to explore these broad career options is to see if you can shadow someone or intern at a law firm or with a lawyer who works in-house at a company. Another idea is to ask people you may know who are lawyers and ask what their experiences are like. Being a lawyer in real life was very different than what law school was like, and I think it would have been helpful for me if I had interned in different settings first.

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Kim’s Answer

Wow, that's a tough question! I am not a lawyer, but, will attempt to answer this, because I have done some contract work for attorneys, and, been around a few of them.

What makes this question extra-tough is that there are so many different areas of law that attorneys practice in, and so many different sized practices.

Attorneys may spend a lot of time doing research and preparing legal documents, sometimes for court, sometimes for the client (wills, contracts, leases, etc). They may negotiate with other parties. They stay on top of their schedules, because, missing deadlines is a big no-no. They may go to court, often times for motions pertaining to the case, rather than for the case itself. They meet with clients - in the office, or in jail. They counsel clients. An attorney working for a company would counsel a client as to how to deal with a difficult employee, how to get land re-zoned that they are trying to purchase, patenting a new product, etc. They work hard to keep the peace when tempers are flaring (family law, divorce, etc). In everything they do, they keep track of how much time it takes, so they know who to bill their time to. They stay on top of changes in their field of specialty. They stay in touch with other lawyers. While some lawyers go to trial, many do not. If they are going to trial, they will spend a LOT of time preparing their case, making sure the exhibits are ready, etc. Trial is very stressful, because there is so much that could go wrong. You have to raise objections at the right time, put witnesses on in the proper order, etc.

If an attorney has managerial duties, they have to do those things. If it is a solo practitioner, they have to keep subscriptions to various legal software current, deal with the rent on their office, taxes, hiring and managing staff, getting the carpet shampooed (yes!), doing payroll, etc.

If they have family, they get interrupted if Dad falls and goes to the hospital, if the child is sick at school or in the principal's office, etc.

Oh, and, at least at first, most of them work about 60 hours a week.

Hopefully some attorneys will add to this and give you their perspective!

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Charles (Chuck)’s Answer

I've worked in law firms. I've been the bottom-tier associate answering discovery. I've tried cases on my own. I've run my own solo practice. And, now I work in-house for an engineering design company. Each of these jobs, all as a practicing attorney, were different. Each had pros and cons. I moved from one position to the other, absorbing the lessons that 20 years of practice will provide, and searching for the balance of life/family and a job that "makes a difference." Previous answers that advise you to shadow someone or intern are good, but you should probably find an area of law that gets your juices flowing...something you can be passionate about. The old adage of "find a job you love and you'll never work a day in your life" is true. In any of the positions I've had, there were tough days (or weeks....or even a month or so). If you don't love it, you won't put forth the sacrifice needed. Being a lawyer is not as easy as they try to make it look on TV. It is tough, sometimes mind-numbing work. Your love, passion, and attitude make all the difference.

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Donna’s Answer

The answer depends on the type of law you pursue and your personality type. Law is rewarding because you are helping people and can get involved in a lot of different cases. Each case is an education. But you are responsible for people's futures, i.e., they get money or not, go to jail or not, etc. So it is a major responsibility. Law can be very stressful and you might find yourself working all of the time. A lot of attorneys don't even have hobbies and work on the weekends. I do like the freedom and independence of setting my own hours, not working for anyone (except my clients) and arranging my holidays when I want (mostly). I don't like the stress and pressures of the law. There are a lot of unknowns every time you walk into a courtroom, so you have to be able to adjust.

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Michelle’s Answer

I think you have to figure out what kind of law you want to practice. Criminal, civil, environmental, entertainment, corporate. There are many options out there, you just need to see what is your best fit. Interview lawyers if you can and ask them why they picked what they picked. Work in a law firm as a runner or something like that were you get to see how a firm works. Or volunteer with the County or District Attorney's offices at the local level.

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