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I am interested in the day-to-day life of a law firm.

I am a senior in high school looking for some more information on the day-to-day workings of a law firm. How often do criminal lawyers visit jails or go to trial? How much group collaboration is there within a firm? Do attorneys tag team cases, or is it more of an independent effort? Thanks in advance. #law #business #career

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Sue’s Answer

Very good questions. There will be receptionists, paralegals, legal secretaries, attorneys, law clerks, and managers who oversee all or a certain area within the practice. Depending on the type of practice, such as a small firm 2-3 attorneys, if may offer services in business, family law, criminal law, probate/estate matters and other arenas. Larger practices may be more specialized and focus on one area of law, such as business and work with individuals or companies who want to buy, sell, and incorporate businesses. Much like any other business, there are clients, phone calls, documents to prepare and send to the court or other individuals.

If a law firm handles criminal matters, there may be times when they will visit the jail to meet with their clients and there could be trials (before the judge or with a jury) if the matters cannot be resolved beforehand.

The attorneys may collaborate with other attorneys in the same firm or they may reach out to another law firm that has more experience in a particular area, i.e., class action law suit and how to best present the case, who should be part of the law suit. If they move forward, with the action, what is the probability of being successful. The legal field is very expansive and there are multiple areas one can work in depending on your interest. Some days, things move fast because something has happened, a settlement is reached, a case is going to trial. The legal system does not move as quickly as one sees on television. Depending on the issue, it could be months or years before a resolution is reached. However, this is a very exciting field of work and offers one many opportunities that could be of interest to you.

Do your research. Talk to others in the field. Consider perhaps a summer job in a law office to see if this is what you might want to do.

Hopes this helps to answer your questions. Good luck.
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Chris’s Answer

I worked for 5 years in a personal injury firm. We had one lawyer, two paralegals and one assistant. We did work as a team, but there is also a lot of individual work. We only went to trial once while I worked there, but there is plenty of litigation work before trial (filings, discovery, etc) that must be completed in preparation. My position handled the settlement phase. Most of my day was spent carefully reviewing medical records to determine injuries and what treatment was related to those injuries so that we could claim the cost. Where I live, you had 3 years to settle before you must file a lawsuit. If we could not get a settlement from the at-fault party, then we would file a complaint in court and begin to move through litigation. Like I said above, most settled before trial. Day to day duties include working to obtain documentation, organizing that documentation (book loads full!), reviewing them, and transferring summaries into your case file against the defendant. You must be good at technical writing, client interviews (regarding their injuries), researching your states law, etc. The paralegals handle most of the prep work, and the lawyer reviews your work and edits it before it is submitted to the appropriate parties. The lawyer is also the one the negotiates the claim during settlement. I hope this give you an idea of day in the life of a law firm.
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Kim’s Answer

Paige,

Although not an attorney, I was a member of an awesome organization for a few years - attorneys working to take on law enforcement abuses. Long before everything going on today. . . I was astonished to see the way they shared their work product with each other. And I'm talking legal research, legal arguments, things that took the hours, and days to prepare. And they just shared it amongst the group, at no cost. If corroboration is important to you, you may want to look into this or other groups of lawyers who share a common cause. Seriously, I couldn't believe what I was seeing! check it out: https://www.nlg-npap.org/about-npap-justice/

Have you narrowed down a few types of law you might be interested in? It would be easier to get good answers to this question if you asked about a particular field of law, because, honestly, there are a lot of differences between the specialties, and the sizes of the firms.

Kim
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