Lawyer With A Washington Law Firm
Job Title: Attorney
Type of Company: I work for a law firm with a wide range of clients in a large number of practice areas. We provide legal advice to companies in intellectual property, international trade, white collar criminal defense, civil litigation and other areas.
Education: BA, BS: University of Texas, Austin JD, University of California at Berkeley MALD, Fletcher School of Law, Tufts University
Previous Experience: I worked as summer associate at my law firm for two summers before being hired full-time.
Job Tasks: I provide research assistance on legal matters for senior attorneys. I also draft analyses on such issues and draft submissions to government agencies regarding issues facing our clients. In addition, I provide support for ongoing investigations. This may include reviewing documents from our clients or their adversaries, such as emails. For instance, in a large investigation into whether a client bribed foreign officials overseas, I organized a team that read through millions of emails discussing bribery and then wrote analytical reports on the emails describing the likely degree of risk that bribery occurred.
Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is engaging with interesting legal issues in cutting edge legal areas that involve national security and foreign affairs law. For instance, much of the work we do involves advising clients on economic sanctions, i.e. which countries they can sell goods and services to and how. Also, the people I work with are top-notch, and the pay is excellent.
The worst part of the job is the hours, which can be grueling, depending on the matter I'm involved with at the moment. I must work many long nights and weekends.
Job Tips: In law school, take practice exams as early and as often as possible in your classes using old exams. Then grade yourself (if possible in conjunction with other students) and find out where you can improve. Also, most classes or professors offer old tests with model answers. These practice tests should be done almost all semester long (though not to the prejudice of learning the material assigned from class). It is the way to do well in school and get a job at a top firm if that's what you want. Also, when interviewing don't show off. Be personable more than anything. Smart second.
Additional Thoughts: One misconception people have is that lawyers are arrogant and hard-charging. While they can be hard working, most of the attorneys I work with and have met are extraordinarily dedicated, modest and want to give back to their communities. We're not like on TV!