Job Title: Attorney
Type of Company: Law firm
Education: BA in English, Oberlin College JD, Northeastern University
Previous Experience: Paralegal
Job Tasks: No day is typical as an attorney. My practice is primarily concentrated in civil litigation. During the day, I may meet with clients to address their legal needs. I meet with them to explain the litigation process, formulate strategies for the litigation, keep them informed of their case, and gather facts and information so that I can draft litigation documents to advance their case.
I also do a great deal of legal research and writing. For example, I sometimes write briefs for appellate courts. This work requires strictly adhering to the procedural rules adopted by the court. The courts can be very precise in directing the contents of the brief and frequently dictate even the font size and style. If the rules are not followed precisely, the brief can be rejected by the court. In the course of writing briefs, I develop legal arguments and support those arguments by citing to legal precedent.
I also draft motions which request that the court take particular action. These motions must be supported by legal memos which contain case law or by affidavits from my clients. I draft lawsuits for clients and spend a great deal of time creating and responding to discovery which is a phase of litigation that is meant to do fact finding.
I will also write letters to clients and opposing counsel regarding the status of the case. I confer with clients and attorneys on the phone and by email. Other days, I go to court. Sometimes I need to go to court just to file documents. Other times, I attend hearings and trials.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is helping someone who needs legal assistance. I like to be able to use my training and skills to help people navigate through the legal system to get to a desired result and solve a legal problem.
However, it is frustrating and disheartening when I feel that my client deserves to win in court but does not get the desired result. The work is very demanding and can be very stressful.
Job Tips: I don't think there is any one route to becoming a good lawyer. I worked as a paralegal which helped prepare me for the legal profession but isn't necessary. Some lawyers are better advocates on their feet and some lawyers are better doing research and writing. I think all potential lawyers should take opportunities to do public speaking. In addition, it is helpful to have strong writing, research and communication skills. Finally, it is very necessary to be able to pay attention to details and to be able to juggle multiple tasks at different times.
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