Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

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stargazin
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Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby stargazin » Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:27 pm

I know this is a terrible question, but are there any lawyer specialties where you don't have to go to court very often? (Or is that kind of like asking whether there are any doctor specialties where you don't have go see patients?)

I'm pretty sure it's not good that I'm only thinking about this a month away from the next application cycle, LOL. I've been preparing for the LSAT, I've finished writing my essay for the most part, but then I started having a crisis as to whether or not I should even apply to law school. I'm sort of conflict averse and quiet, and I'm kind of nervous about having to sway juries, judges, etc. I worry that if I don't win enough cases in court, my law career would be doomed from the start. I'm willing to work hard at it, but I don't think I'd really ever enjoy putting on the Billy Flynn "give em the old razzle dazzle" type courtroom show. And I've watched enough courtroom shows to know that it's not always fair in the courtroom, and that there's a complex network of political, business, and personal relationships that can tip the scales one way or another. Someone could even be a great trial lawyer but if they don't have the right connections they may still lose cases they would otherwise win.

But I really love the analysis/discovery/research/writing aspect of being a lawyer. I'm really interested in the process of getting the evidence, figuring out what happened, researching precedents and laws and putting it all together into an argument. I'm really interested in stuff like transactions and contracts. Are there any specialties where lawyers don't have to go to court very often (like around 10% of the time)? Or is having a good solid litigation win record essential for any lawyer (i.e. even clients who only need non-courtroom stuff done still want to go to a lawyer who has a great win record so that they're confident the lawyer will deliver for them in court if necessary)?

Thank you in advance for your input!

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acrossthelake
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby acrossthelake » Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:29 pm

A lot will fit your criteria. The better question is: "What specialties would actually require me going to court often?"

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Hannibal
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby Hannibal » Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:37 pm

Most of the lawyers I know almost never go to court.

That said, I used to be quiet and conflict averse as well, you never know what kind of person you'll be four years from now.

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presh
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby presh » Wed Aug 04, 2010 11:39 pm

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Last edited by presh on Sun Dec 27, 2015 3:11 am, edited 1 time in total.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:26 am

Many, maybe most, lawyers rarely go to court. One reason is that it tends to be too expensive for clients. Settle, arbitrate or mediate if you are in litigation but want to avoid the cost & personal trauma of an actual trial. Or practice in a transactional or administrative area of law.

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jdhopeful11
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby jdhopeful11 » Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:27 am

Going to court is the best part! LOCKEM UP JUDGE!! YEEHAWWWW!

Pearalegal
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby Pearalegal » Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:39 am

Problem is discovery is rife with conflict as well if that really what holds you back from being an atty. Depositions, endless rounds of rogs, just plain dealing with opposing counsel. Everything can be very in your face when you're practicing the law.

Sounds like you want to study it, not practice.

Renzo
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby Renzo » Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:55 am

Pearalegal wrote:Problem is discovery is rife with conflict as well if that really what holds you back from being an atty. Depositions, endless rounds of rogs, just plain dealing with opposing counsel. Everything can be very in your face when you're practicing the law.

Sounds like you want to study it, not practice.

This assumes litigation practice. What real estate attorney will ever go to court?

Pearalegal
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby Pearalegal » Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:57 am

Renzo wrote:
Pearalegal wrote:Problem is discovery is rife with conflict as well if that really what holds you back from being an atty. Depositions, endless rounds of rogs, just plain dealing with opposing counsel. Everything can be very in your face when you're practicing the law.

Sounds like you want to study it, not practice.

This assumes litigation practice. What real estate attorney will ever go to court?


OP says she enjoys the discovery process. I was responding to that.

CanadianWolf
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby CanadianWolf » Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:57 am

Foreclosures usually require simple court appearances. But not if your practice focuses on real estate closings.

Renzo
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby Renzo » Thu Aug 05, 2010 12:59 am

Pearalegal wrote:
Renzo wrote:
Pearalegal wrote:Problem is discovery is rife with conflict as well if that really what holds you back from being an atty. Depositions, endless rounds of rogs, just plain dealing with opposing counsel. Everything can be very in your face when you're practicing the law.

Sounds like you want to study it, not practice.

This assumes litigation practice. What real estate attorney will ever go to court?


OP says she enjoys the discovery process. I was responding to that.

Fair enough.

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McNulty
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby McNulty » Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:13 am

Conflict is the nature of the beast.

Renzo
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby Renzo » Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:15 am

McNulty wrote:Conflict is the nature of the beast.

If you're a litigator. Most lawyers aren't, so as a general statement, this is a lie.

Pearalegal
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby Pearalegal » Thu Aug 05, 2010 1:31 am

Renzo wrote:
McNulty wrote:Conflict is the nature of the beast.

If you're a litigator. Most lawyers aren't, so as a general statement, this is a lie.


Every profession has conflict. Its a fact of life. Especially when your profession happens to be the law. Someone is gonna disagree with what you do.

I think the thing here is that yes, some areas of law aren't focused on trials, but the law is one of the most stressful professions around next to dentistry (no wait, I think thats the highest suicide rate. Sorry, try to find anyway to bring up that odd piece of trivia).

Depositions, courts, pissy clients, pissy business reps, pissy vendors, pissy partners. Its a business that moves around money. People get anxious and upset when you're involved with their money.

Regardless, my actual concern is that what OP describes as her favorite part of the law is conflict ridden, if not driven. Why is this area of law your point of interest? Have you ever actually worked in the law or really know what discovery entails?

jtb00711
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby jtb00711 » Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:46 pm

Don't be a criminal attorney if you HATE going to court. On the other hand, where I work most of the estate attorney's rarely/if ever go. Others sometimes go, but not on a weekly basis. The plantiff's group have 3-4 big cases a year.

LoyolaLaw2012
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby LoyolaLaw2012 » Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:49 pm

Very few lawyers do trial work. It sounds like you will fit in fine with the legal field.

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Bosque
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby Bosque » Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:44 pm

Yah, most lawyers are worried about the opposite problem: never GETTING to go to court. If you never want to see the inside of a court room, you don't have to. Just don't be a litigator.

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angiej
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby angiej » Thu Aug 05, 2010 3:49 pm

My estate planning attorney/boss is never in court.

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MTal
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby MTal » Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:02 pm

If you think you'll hate going to court, keep in mind the following. Transactional work can be outsourced, litigation cannot.

lawschoollll
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby lawschoollll » Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:07 pm

You like discovery? Flame.

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Bosque
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby Bosque » Thu Aug 05, 2010 4:56 pm

Also, I don't think you really understand what court is like, if you are basing this decision off of watching Chicago and a bunch of legal shows.

stargazin
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby stargazin » Thu Aug 05, 2010 11:39 pm

Thanks for all your thoughts! Including the flame one.

Also, I don't think you really understand what court is like, if you are basing this decision off of watching Chicago and a bunch of legal shows.


I do love my legal shows and Broadway plays. I was just trying to say that some personalities are probably better suited to litigation than others. What has court been like in your experience?

Foreclosures usually require simple court appearances. But not if your practice focuses on real estate closings.


Oh, cool. Do you mean residential or commercial closings (or both)?

Many, maybe most, lawyers rarely go to court. One reason is that it tends to be too expensive for clients. Settle, arbitrate or mediate if you are in litigation but want to avoid the cost & personal trauma of an actual trial. Or practice in a transactional or administrative area of law.


Yeah, I'd definitely be interested in transactional. Do you think there's enough work in that area to go around and pay the bills usually?

That said, I used to be quiet and conflict averse as well, you never know what kind of person you'll be four years from now.


That's awesome. Maybe that'd happen for me too and I might find myself liking trial work!

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jdhopeful11
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby jdhopeful11 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 3:23 am

jdhopeful11 wrote:Going to court is the best part! LOCKEM UP JUDGE!! YEEHAWWWW!



LOCKEM UP JUDGE!

Pip
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby Pip » Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:11 am

stargazin wrote:I know this is a terrible question, but are there any lawyer specialties where you don't have to go to court very often? (Or is that kind of like asking whether there are any doctor specialties where you don't have go see patients?)

I'm pretty sure it's not good that I'm only thinking about this a month away from the next application cycle, LOL. I've been preparing for the LSAT, I've finished writing my essay for the most part, but then I started having a crisis as to whether or not I should even apply to law school. I'm sort of conflict averse and quiet, and I'm kind of nervous about having to sway juries, judges, etc. I worry that if I don't win enough cases in court, my law career would be doomed from the start. I'm willing to work hard at it, but I don't think I'd really ever enjoy putting on the Billy Flynn "give em the old razzle dazzle" type courtroom show. And I've watched enough courtroom shows to know that it's not always fair in the courtroom, and that there's a complex network of political, business, and personal relationships that can tip the scales one way or another. Someone could even be a great trial lawyer but if they don't have the right connections they may still lose cases they would otherwise win.

But I really love the analysis/discovery/research/writing aspect of being a lawyer. I'm really interested in the process of getting the evidence, figuring out what happened, researching precedents and laws and putting it all together into an argument. I'm really interested in stuff like transactions and contracts. Are there any specialties where lawyers don't have to go to court very often (like around 10% of the time)? Or is having a good solid litigation win record essential for any lawyer (i.e. even clients who only need non-courtroom stuff done still want to go to a lawyer who has a great win record so that they're confident the lawyer will deliver for them in court if necessary)?

Thank you in advance for your input!


Unless you were going to be a litigator, or family practice, you aren't going to spend much time in court ever. Most things never go to court even if you are a defense attorney you will rarely be in court much. In 1 year working for a firm that focused on defending white collar crimes not one attorney in the office was ever in court more than 10 days during the whole year.... some were NEVER in court. So don't worry about that aspect of it. The biggest question is whether you really want to be a lawyer and why... if you can't give a compelling argument for why you want to be a lawyer, then save yourself 3 years of debt and do something else.

Too often people go to law school because they are trying to please someone else like a mom or dad, or because they think its an easy way to make money, or because they thought they wanted to when they were in high school so they pursued degrees that are really only useful in getting into law school and have little value in getting a job but really don't want to know but feel trapped... If any of those reasons apply to you then do yourself a favor and don't go. Do something else. You wont be happy as a lawyer and if your not happy you will be short changing yourself and your clients.

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Bosque
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Re: Do you HAVE to go to court often as a lawyer?

Postby Bosque » Fri Aug 06, 2010 11:18 am

Pip wrote:The biggest question is whether you really want to be a lawyer and why... if you can't give a compelling argument for why you want to be a lawyer, then save yourself 3 years of debt and do something else.

Too often people go to law school because they are trying to please someone else like a mom or dad, or because they think its an easy way to make money, or because they thought they wanted to when they were in high school so they pursued degrees that are really only useful in getting into law school and have little value in getting a job but really don't want to know but feel trapped... If any of those reasons apply to you then do yourself a favor and don't go. Do something else. You wont be happy as a lawyer and if your not happy you will be short changing yourself and your clients.


I agree with you substantively, but I don't agree with the bolded. I know I couldn't give anyone an argument as to why I wanted to be a lawyer when I was applying, I just felt it in my gut. I can give you a spiel now as to what I want to do, but I am still not sure if I could put into words exactly why I wanted to be a lawyer. I just knew.

However, if the reasons you listed are anyone's "Reasons," then I agree whole heartedly. Find another profession. There are professions out there where you can succeed and be happy even though you are not really passionate about what you are doing. Lawyering is not one of them.




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