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What does a lawyer's typical day look like?

Is most of their time spent in court? Do they have to defend clients even if they know they're guilty? How long will it take to pay back the college tutions?

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quintavius’s Answer

being a lawyer is very fun. Although its no easy task, it pays very well. A typical day starts early around 7 am. there's a lot of paperwork and documents that you would look through depending on the case. People may think that most time is spent in court but depending on the type of lawyer most is done outside of court. Its always up to you to defend a client either if they are guilty or not. Its your job to be able to defend them no matter the situation. College is very expensive most people spend almost their entire carrer paying off student debts. Get help and funded anyway you can. BEST OF LUCK
Thank you comment icon Thanks for the help. Cadence
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Rob’s Answer

Hello! Not a lawyer here but spent 5 years working in the corporate law space as a Paralegal and later in Business Development and Marketing.

During my time as a Paralegal, I was tasked with much of the work that the more junior Associates (Lawyers) would do. I worked in the Capital Markets department which specialized in a time of financial instrument called a Commercial Mortgage-Backed Security. Without going into too much detail it was basically a financial transaction related to real estate. Our law firm represented the banks that were a part of the transaction, and for the law firm that involved a lot of different legal documents (various agreements, deal documents, opinion letters, etc.). The more junior attorneys would primarily spend their time writing up the initial versions of the different legal documents our firm was responsible for and send them to the senior attorneys to review before sending them to the rest of the parties involved in the transaction (different banks, other law firms, etc.). They would then repeat the process once they received comments from everybody involved. Eventually all of the documents get finalized and received sign-off from everyone which eventually closes the deal.

The work involved a lot of reading, writing, critical thinking and communication skills to make sure that all the right detail was included in the documents required for the transactions to close legally.
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Brian’s Answer

Meisha,

When I first started out, most of time was spent in my car, to be honest. This wasn't the Lincoln Lawyer type job, but literally I spent my days running to and from courts, but the court appearances were quite short; the travel was the time consuming part of my day. I drove from 8 to 5, every day, five days a week. I learned why lawyers spend a bit extra on nice cars.
Eventually however we had a pandemic; and now much of our work is done by video. I appear in courts and offices across my state by video nearly every day now. The time I spend in court, the events you might be thinking of, are jury trials.

You represent clients, and as part of the criminal justice system you may represent clients who can be convicted. You represent them with everything you got, or you pick another line of work. The criminal system is adversarial, meaning it takes two equal competitors or adversaries, struggling against each other, to find the truth. The competition cannot be unequal or one sided. The system was designed with that tension in mind; of finding out the truth only through a complete contest. This is why cross examination of a witness was called a 'crucible' long ago, a device used to melt down the parts into purities, and impurities. If you don't believe you can defend someone accused of serious crimes, there are plenty of other cases to take; civil lawsuits, domestic relations cases and custody, wills, or immigration work. Law saturates everything around you, but its one of the few things we learn very little about in school.

Jury trials are fantastic; they are the reason I stuck with lawyering all this time. Trials are a bit of everything - investigation, acting, public speaking, theatrics, video presentation and diagrams, confrontation and cross examination. Trials are a big reason to become a lawyer, honestly. The actual work of getting to a trial includes long days, research and writing, a lot of organization, and investigation of all types; witnesses, issues, and backgrounds. I learn more from each trial I do. A good trial lawyer can memorize facts, remember outlines and questions, and stays ahead of everyone else in the courtroom. It is pretty likely there are trials going on near you now; and if you search up the video links for those courts, you can watch a trial by video, or just find an interesting trial and go see one live at the courthouse. If you see a trial going on, for real, you will see how that work is really done. Movies and shows don't do it justice.

Student loans are eternal; don't worry about the loans. They are part of the life, unfortunately.

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Christina’s Answer

My experience was like Brian's. I was new, so I did the grunt work. I once drove from Tampa to Jacksonville (about 3 hours) to appear in court for the dumbest reason in my field only to find out when I got there that opposing counsel (plaintiff's side) agreed to the motion with the office's Miami location.

As a plaintiff in personal injury, I got to call the shots a lot more. Don't feel like doing that corporate rep depo tomorrow? Reschedule it! In this role, a typical day would be going through medical records and Explanations of Benefits to look up CPT codes (medical codes) to see if the insurance company paid the bills correctly according to a Medicare fee schedule....riveting work. If it was underpaid, I'd demand thousands of dollars in attorney's fees while my client was legally only owed about $1.00.... that's Florida PIP for you folks. Once in a blue moon I'd have a hearing on late discovery or a corporate rep depo I'd perform.

Currently, I do presuit work, so I bother adjusters all day and tell them to pay me for my client's injuries as a result of their insured's negligence. No court; no opposing counsels. I get a % of what I settle on top of a base salary.

I also went to a really bad law school, but I got scholarships, so I have $0 student loan debt. I will never practice BigLaw with my degree, but I don't have to worry about $200k in loans, so I think I'm happy with my decision.
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Baljit’s Answer

Hi Meisha,
I have worked mostly as a litigation paralegal while working closely with lawyers and I have also worked a lawyer. I found that it all depends on whether you have landed a job in a high intensity field (such as litigation). After my law degree I have worked with the police too, dealing with immigration questions too mostly. Being a lawyer is very rewarding. I often felt like I was changing the world.

I had worked in litigation so most of the prep work for the cases was going back and forth answering legal documents until trial. As a paralegal most of the work was document management.

It is up to the lawyer if they want to take on a case that they think the defendant is guilty.

Paying college expenses depends on what kind of financial package you got. You would also have to pay loans 6 months after you graduate school. It expensive but definitely worth the legal education. You would also have to take continuous education classes too after you graduate.
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