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What are the primary responsibilities and tasks you handle as a lawyer?

Can you describe a typical day or week in your role as a lawyer?

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Jennifer’s Answer

I currently work as an in house lawyer and a typical day might include drafting, negotiating and reviewing documents, preparing legal advice, attending conference calls, undertaking legal research, checking information on Companies House, updating our precedent documents, attending or delivering training and attending a team meeting.

Prior to this I worked for a law firm for a number of years. The work itself was similar but was more focussed on specifc areas of law and was more intense because I was working for multiple clients, not just one client like I do in house.

I hope this helps and I wish you all the best with your future career.
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Jenna’s Answer

I'm not sure there is any "typical" week, because different types of lawyers do very different things. To be very general, all lawyers are going to be providing advice and protecting the interests of their clients, whether its in a courtroom or writing a document. Lawyers provide a lot of advice (it's why we are called counselors) and answer a lot of "what-if" scenarios to help the client make the best decisions for them, and to explain what the consequences of those actions might be.

When I worked in-house, I answered a LOT of emails and negotiated and drafted a lot of documents. I had to reconcile the interests of the landlord and the tenant (we were usually the tenant) and work to get an agreement that provided protections for both parties, while considering the unique circumstances of each transaction. I also reviewed a lot of documents before they were signed, to make sure the content was adequate, and also when someone had a question, I provided that "specific legal advice" you can't find online.

As a solo attorney with my own practice, I still negotiate and draft a lot of documents, but it's for a lot of different clients, and I also have to manage my billing, admin work, staff, etc., so it's practicing law and owning a business. I still advocate for my clients and help them understand the consequences and effects of signing (or not) signing documents, and when they have made decisions they don't like, I help them work through those consequences (like employment issues or terminating a lease).

A "typical" day involves a LOT of email and some phone calls, making sure that I am answering client questions (there is no such thing as a quick question), providing legal advice, and drafting, negotiating and revising documents. Some clients are more experienced than others, so the amount of time I spend varies. A trial lawyer might spend more time in a courtroom or working with witnesses or otherwise handling litigation matters, while an appellate attorney might spend a lot of time reading and researching court cases and opinions and crafting and editing legal arguments.

The type of law you practice really influences the day that you have. You might be able to get at informational interview or shadow an attorney for a day in an area that sounds interesting to you and get more details, but I would focus on getting good grades, and practicing being VERY clear in your writing and speaking, precision in language and meaning is very important, so you have to understand every detail to be the best advocate for your client.
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