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Career Story: Lawyer For A Small Private Litigation Firm

Lawyer For A Small Private Litigation Firm

Job Title: Attorney

Type of Company: I work for a litigation law firm in Connecticut. We try civil lawsuits.

Education: BA, History, University of Connecticut •• JD, Western New England College School of Law (Springfield, MA)

Previous Experience: I worked as a bail commissioner and pre-trial supervision officer for the state of Connecticut, supervising individuals released on bail.

Job Tasks: I am a lawyer for a small private litigation firm in Connecticut. We defend people who have been sued. At any one time, I will be handling between 50 and 60 cases. We often try cases in court before a jury, but the majority of our work is case preparation. From the defense perspective, the first part of case preparation involves meeting with the client and others to learn the important facts. We next file an "Answer" to the "Complaint." The "Complaint" is a formal document that states the claims being made in the lawsuit; the "Answer" is the defendant's formal response to the that complaint. These two documents control and confirm the scope of the lawsuit. Preparing the case also involves investigating the facts and circumstances of the lawsuit, asking questions of witnesses and parties under oath in a setting less formal than a courtroom (deposition), and through document requests. This stage is often referred to as the "discovery" portion of the lawsuit. The purpose of case preparation is to develop the best strategy to resolve the case in the way most favorable for the client. Sometimes a trial is the way, but many times the best way to resolve it is by an agreement to settle between the parties. In this way you can have a measure of control over how the lawsuit ends, rather than leaving it in the hands of an unpredictable jury.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The worst part of the job is the very long hours and time away from your family. Although you try your best to accommodate family life, court deadlines and your sworn obligations to the client are very demanding.

The best part of the job is when you are able to win your case outright through hard work, careful thought and skillful maneuvering.

Job Tips:
1. Trial work is nothing like what you see on television. It is much harder and less dramatic.

2. The practice of law is not as lucrative as it once may have been. There are so many lawyers that the competition for business is cut throat and the prices are being driven down.

3. If you insist on going to law school understand this. They teach the subjects in separate classes, but in the real world everything is intertwined. You may have a case where you are defending a company that installs pools, in which negligence is alleged (tort law) and where your client had a contract with the homeowner (contract law) and the pool was partially installed on the neighbor's property (property law).

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