Job Title: Attorney
Type of Company: I work as a restructuring (or bankruptcy) attorney in Dallas, Texas.
Education: BS, Accounting and Finance, Indiana University JD, Northwestern University School of Law
Previous Experience: I worked at a "Big Four" accounting firm as a forensic accountant for a year and subsequently worked as a financial analyst at a large pharmaceutical company for another year. I then went to law school and I have been working at a global law firm ever since.
Job Tasks: Most days my work consists primarily of research and writing. I am a junior associate at a law firm. Our clients are large corporations that are involved in some aspect of a financial and organizational restructuring. I research unique scenarios that arise in our cases. I also draft documents stating the position that we file with the court. My days vary greatly and some days require long hours because our work is usually very time-sensitive.
I spend some time every day on conference calls or in meetings discussing the strategy of the next phase of the case. I spend a lot of time reading documents that have been filed by our adversary in order to respond to them appropriately. Occasionally I will have to interpret financial data that is relevant to the case. As I become more senior at the law firm, I will spend more time strategizing and interacting with clients and less time researching.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is the variation in my day-to-day work. Every case we work on is unique and every project provides an opportunity to learn. Further, the partners and associates at my law firm are very good at their trade, and it is fun and exciting to work with them.
The worst part of the job is its unpredictability. Because legal services are professional services, we are available when our clients need us. Therefore, I often work on weekends and late into the evenings. It is difficult to make plans in advance.
Job Tips: The legal career is "saturated" in that there are more students in law school than there are legal jobs available. As a result, students should try to get into the highest-ranked school possible. Once in school, students need to be very involved (i.e., students should serve on journals, participate in moot court, as well as try to maintain a high GPA). In addition, consider studying business as an undergrad, rather than concentrating in a traditional liberal arts subject like history. Business is the language of our clients and it is a very important skill to understand.
Additional Thoughts: Law school is very expensive. Before you invest the time and money to go to law school, take the time to talk to some lawyers and really think about if it is something that will make you happy. Many lawyers find out, after the fact, that they are not happy but they are in significant debt after law school.
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