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Career Story: Estate Attorney In Private Practice

Estate Attorney In Private Practice

Job Title: Attorney

Type of Company: Sole Practitioner

Education: AB, Kenyon College (Gambier, OH) •• JD, Boston College Law School

Previous Experience: None.

Job Tasks: I meet with clients and discuss their estate planning needs: their wills, health care powers of attorney and living wills. And I also advise clients on their real estate transactions and plans and help them prepare the necessary papers to either sell or buy their home.

My main job, apart from preparing clients' papers, is to advise them on the best course of action to take in a particular situation. To do this well you have to have the ability to understand their needs and desires and the willingness to help or dissuade them: to explain to them why their aims are impractical or simply not achievable.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The worst part of the work I do is being forced to do too much in too little time, and having to be constantly interrupted with phone calls and emails about other matters.

Especially trying is the waiting time in Courts. Attorneys (and their clients) are expected to be in court by 9 in the morning. In one case I had, the court was an hour away, and while I was there by 9, my case wasn't called until almost 3 in the afternoon. It took less than 10 minutes to file a motion and then I had to drive an hour to get back to my office. From my point of view I was working for the client for a whole day; from my client's point of view, I worked 10 minutes! This is extremely frustrating as it both robs me of the ability to work for any other client for the day and because no client wants to pay you for just sitting and waiting.

Job Tips: Study hard. The best advice is to amass the greatest amount of knowledge you can. People expect their attorneys to "know it all".

Learn to associate with people in a friendly manner.

Have a hobby that keeps you in contact with a group of people. Contrary to what you may think watching television shows, people are far more likely to choose an attorney they know than one who advertises (especially those who advertise ad nauseam).

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