Jenna Zebrowski, JD, MBA
So, TV lawyers are much more glamorous and interesting to watch than the actual way law is practiced in the real world. Some attorneys, like me, rarely or never go to court, and others actively seek cases that will take them to court, but they still spend plenty of time working in an office or a setting outside of a courtroom. There are always big cases, which often have teams of attorneys from law firms on them, or a single attorney might have a litigation practice, where they are responsible for all of it.
I thought I wanted to be a litigator, but then I discovered I didn't like all of the preparation and the time spent preparing for trials, so I spend a lot of time working with my clients and trying to keep them out of the courtroom! The preparation work is important but doesn't look very glamorous on TV, so they don't show that part.
Long hours: Lawyers often work long hours, including weekends and evenings, to meet deadlines and complete work for clients.
High stress: The legal profession can be high-stress, with tight deadlines, high stakes, and the need to constantly stay on top of changes in the law.
Continuous learning: Law is a constantly evolving field, and lawyers must stay up-to-date with changes in laws and regulations in order to effectively represent their clients.
Client demands: Lawyers must balance the needs and expectations of their clients with their professional responsibilities and ethical obligations.
Job market competitiveness: The job market for lawyers can be highly competitive, with many law school graduates seeking limited opportunities.
Financial rewards: Lawyers who are successful and established can earn a high income, but it can take years to reach that level.
Variety of work: There are many different areas of law, and lawyers can specialize in a variety of fields such as criminal law, corporate law, environmental law, and many more.
Overall, being a lawyer can be a challenging and rewarding career, but it is important to understand the realities of the profession before pursuing it. It requires a commitment to hard work, ongoing learning, and a dedication to helping clients navigate complex legal issues.
The answer depends in part on what kind of a lawyer you are. We have a family friend who does estate planning (wills, trusts, etc.). She never goes to court. Another friend does document review for large cases (with thousands of documents). She never goes to court.
Someone else I know is a public defender. He goes to court weekly, but not necessarily for a trial. There are many hearings being held prior to the actual trial. A lot of what he does is writing. I also know prosecutors...and depending on what level they are at and what department (capital, domestic violence, drugs), they do varying amounts of trails/court appearances.
In general, from what I've seen, most of the work is done outside of the courtroom...writing, researching, talking to clients, talking to opposing counsel, etc.