Job Title: Attorney
Type of Company: A legal practice.
Education: BA, History and Religious Studies, St. Lawrence University JD, Syracuse University
Previous Experience: I have been an abstractor and title agent, a legal assistant and a lawyer.
Job Tasks: My profession typically involves meeting, calling and counseling business clients. The work ranges from reviewing, negotiating and drafting business documents, loan documents, and contracts; to reviewing real estate titles (history of property ownership), surveys, environmental reports; to negotiating, writing and reviewing leases.
In addition to working with general businesses on real estate matters, I am sometimes called to address employee issues, non-compete agreements, negotiation of settlements on business disputes, or for general billing and collection. Although I represent may different types of businesses from a food franchise owner to a hotel developer, I also work with a number of contractors preparing construction agreements and subcontractor agreements; working with owners, sub-contractors and material suppliers to review and resolve construction payment and performance issues. With my background in real estate development I am also called on to represent engineers on real estate development litigation matters, and to work with developers to create and finance commercial retail projects. My business work includes some estate planning and will drafting for my business clients; and helping create new business - counseling clients on various types of companies; working with accountants on business and tax planning matters; preparing partnership agreements and negotiating disputes among partners. Most days are spent in my office writing, in meetings and on the phone and computer.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: Working to help my clients is usually a great experience, and the ability to problem-solve is very satisfying. In many cases I am assisting a new business to become established and grow, while avoiding pitfalls based on my advice and experience. I also enjoy helping to re-develop a tired or contaminated property into a new and better use.
Job Tips: Try to get experience in different areas of the law, at different types of firms, using different kinds of skills until you find the right fit. Find opportunities to work as a legal assistant before committing to a career in law so that you can see what the practice is really like. Business lawyers have skills which are different from the skills that make a good litigation/trial lawyer; and working in a large firm has career demands and a feel that are different from working in a small office. Don't be afraid to make a move or take some chances, particularly in the early stages of your career.
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