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What is it like to be a lawyer? What does the road look like?

I am wondering if it is worth it to be a lawyer. What do you have to do daily? What is it like? Is it tiring or motivating? I am a senior in High school and trying to find what I should do.

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Jennifer’s Answer

I have been working as a lawyer for 15 years and I think it is worth it.

I currently work as an in house lawyer and the kind of things that I do on a daily basis include drafting documents, reviewing documents, providing legal advice, conducting legal research, attending meetings, joining conference calls and attending training. Prior to this I worked for a law firm. The kind of things I did on a daily basis were similar to what I now do in house but were narrower in scope as to the area of law and were for multiple clients rather than one client (my employer). Whilst at the law firm I also did business development which involved keeping in regular contact with clients and potential clients in order to generate business for the law firm.

I find being a lawyer motivating as the work is interesting and no two days are the same. I also enjoy helping others.

The work can be tiring, especially while working at a law firm. I often had to draft or review lots of documents on short notice and had to work long hours in order to meet the deadline. However, it can also be rewarding when you work hard on something and it all comes together on time. I try to manage this by setting boundaries as to when I work and by looking after myself e.g. eating well.

I am mostly a transactional lawyer so I only tend to get involved in legal proceedings if something goes wrong on a transaction. Hopefully someone who is a contentious lawyer will also respond to your question as what they do day to day is likely to differ from what I do day to day.

I wish you all the best in your future career, whether you decide to become a lawyer or something else.
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Bob’s Answer

Hello, Lina! What a wonderful question.

Let me at first give you a candid and typical lawyer's answer: it depends.

As regards daily activities, a daily routine, much depends on the type of law you choose to practice. A trial lawyer will spend her time preparing for trial, contracts lawyers spend the bilk of their time reviewing contracts and providing guidance to clients on the meaning and intent of contractual language.

Those who practice in trusts and estates will spend much of their time interviewing clients regarding the clients needs and wishes, then reviewing applicable law before crafting documents designed to make those wishes a reality.

In fact, for the vast majority of lawyers, what I mentioned to you above is a typical day. You will meet with clients, listen to their needs and wants, research applicable laws, then attend to those needs, often by drafting documents and providing oral advice yourself.

Of course there are many exceptions and variations of a common day as I've outlined it, but that typical day gives you an idea.

Now, let me highlight something crucial about being a successful lawyer. We are in the business of helping people make good decisions. Our role is to utilize our education, experience, and intelligence in the service of our clients, to ensure that those clients receive the best possible advice and service we can provide.

So what is a typical lawyer's day really like? It's all about people, listening to their problems and crafting solutions to those problems, then explaining those solutions so the clients understand and can best implement them. So Lina, the best lawyers are people persons. We like people, and we like serving them, making their lives better through what we can do.

Be a people person, and you on the road to being a good lawyer, one who serves others. And that never grows old or becomes boring!

Good luck, Lina!!!!!!!!!
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Mackenzie’s Answer

The daily life of a lawyer can vary significantly depending on their practice area, work setting, and the specific cases or matters they are handling. Here's a general overview of what the daily life of a lawyer might look like:

1. Client Meetings and Consultations:
Lawyers often start their day by meeting with clients, whether in person, by phone, or through video conferencing. During these meetings, they discuss legal issues, provide advice, and gather information.

2. Legal Research:
A significant portion of a lawyer's day involves legal research. They research case law, statutes, regulations, and legal precedents to build strong arguments for their cases.

3. Document Review and Drafting:
Lawyers review and draft legal documents, such as contracts, pleadings, briefs, agreements, and legal opinions. Attention to detail is critical to ensure accuracy.

4. Court Appearances:
Litigation attorneys often have court appearances, which can include hearings, depositions, and trials. They may argue motions, present evidence, and cross-examine witnesses in court.

5. Negotiations:
Lawyers frequently engage in negotiations on behalf of their clients. This can involve settlement discussions, contract negotiations, or negotiations with opposing counsel.

6. Client Communication:
Lawyers communicate with clients regularly, providing updates on case progress, discussing strategy, and answering client questions.

7. Legal Strategy and Case Management:
Lawyers strategize and plan their legal approach, managing multiple cases simultaneously. They set deadlines, assign tasks to support staff, and ensure cases are progressing efficiently.

8. Meetings with Colleagues and Opposing Counsel:
Lawyers meet with colleagues within their firm to collaborate on cases and discuss strategy. They may also have meetings with opposing counsel to negotiate or resolve legal issues.

9. Administrative Tasks:
Lawyers handle administrative tasks, including timekeeping, billing clients, and managing their workload.

10. Continuing Legal Education (CLE):
- To maintain their legal licenses, lawyers often attend CLE courses to stay updated on changes in the law and legal trends.

11. Business Development:
- For lawyers in private practice, business development is crucial. They may spend time networking, attending industry events, and seeking new clients.

12. Pro Bono Work and Community Involvement:
- Many lawyers dedicate time to pro bono (volunteer) work or community involvement to give back to their communities and gain additional legal experience.

13. Researching and Staying Informed:
- Lawyers stay informed about legal developments and current events that may impact their cases or clients.

14. Work-Life Balance:
- Achieving a work-life balance can be challenging in the legal profession, as cases often have tight deadlines and unpredictable demands. Lawyers may need to work evenings or weekends, especially during critical stages of a case.

15. Stress Management:
- Lawyers must manage stress effectively, as the legal profession can be high-pressure. Strategies for stress management may include exercise, meditation, or seeking support from colleagues or therapists.

It's important to note that the daily routine of a lawyer can vary widely based on their practice area. For example, a criminal defense attorney's day may involve court appearances and client meetings, while a corporate attorney may spend more time on contract negotiations and transactional work. Additionally, lawyers in government, nonprofit organizations, or in-house legal departments may have different daily responsibilities compared to those in private practice.

I work at a big law firm doing commercial litigation. its a very demanding job. I'm only in my second year so I'm doing a lot of research and writing but have a few smaller cases that I get to basically lead, so I have a lot of responsibility there reaching out to the court, opposing counsel, and trying to come up with legal arguments and strategy on my own with minimal supervision. Being a lawyer has been super rewarding for me but it is a huge commitment so make sure you have done your research and are confident that the legal profession is a good fit for you!
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