Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

(On Campus Interviews, Summer Associate positions, Firm Reviews, Tips, ...)
Forum rules
Anonymous Posting

Anonymous posting is only appropriate when you are revealing sensitive employment related information about a firm, job, etc. You may anonymously respond on topic to these threads. Unacceptable uses include: harassing another user, joking around, testing the feature, or other things that are more appropriate in the lounge.

Failure to follow these rules will get you outed, warned, or banned.
User avatar
kapital98
Posts: 1188
Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:58 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby kapital98 » Thu Sep 22, 2016 8:10 pm

ilovesf wrote:Oh hey kapital, I have not seen you in a while!


Hey! :) How have you been? We haven't talked in forever. What have you been doing?

The public defense cases are just a continual series of facepalms. Every time I believe in my client they somehow screw it up. I had one of my clients get a good deal on a DWI. What does he do? He goes out and fails five straight drug evaluations. One time he failed for cocaine. I asked him, "Why are you doing cocaine?" "It must have been in the blunt my friend rolled." "WHY ARE YOU SMOKING BLUNTS!?!?" It looks like he's going to serve 30 days in jail now. :|

The retained side has been doing decently though. I had a couple random misdemeanors come through the door in the last week. I even had a felony consultation this morning (but i probably won't get that one). You should check out my commercial on Facebook. It's shared on my personal homepage!

I hope you are doing well.

clshopeful
Posts: 354
Joined: Sat Oct 10, 2015 5:15 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby clshopeful » Mon Oct 03, 2016 12:58 am

kapital98 wrote:
ilovesf wrote:Oh hey kapital, I have not seen you in a while!


Hey! :) How have you been? We haven't talked in forever. What have you been doing?

The public defense cases are just a continual series of facepalms. Every time I believe in my client they somehow screw it up. I had one of my clients get a good deal on a DWI. What does he do? He goes out and fails five straight drug evaluations. One time he failed for cocaine. I asked him, "Why are you doing cocaine?" "It must have been in the blunt my friend rolled." "WHY ARE YOU SMOKING BLUNTS!?!?" It looks like he's going to serve 30 days in jail now. :|

The retained side has been doing decently though. I had a couple random misdemeanors come through the door in the last week. I even had a felony consultation this morning (but i probably won't get that one). You should check out my commercial on Facebook. It's shared on my personal homepage!

I hope you are doing well.


Hard to feel bad for a guy who is going to jail after he got a DWI and then failed 5 drug tests..

User avatar
kapital98
Posts: 1188
Joined: Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:58 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby kapital98 » Tue Oct 04, 2016 3:27 am

clshopeful wrote:Hard to feel bad for a guy who is going to jail after he got a DWI and then failed 5 drug tests..


Call me a bleeding heart but this is a person we are talking about. Not some faceless entity on a forum. The guy has a family and a job (which he'll probably lose due to jail). That's a month of his life that he'll never get back. All for being addicted to weed and admitting to a cop, on an ordinary traffic stop, that he was smoking a joint.

Jail time is highly unusual for a DWI. First time offenders usually get a violation with a $900 fine. People who get into accidents or have a criminal history plead to a misdemeanor and pay a $900 fine. This guy is getting a hard bargain. I wish we could take this to trial. Losing at trial won't be much (if any) worse than the deal. Still, he wants to plead so that's what we'll do.

Anonymous User
Posts: 287543
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Oct 04, 2016 8:45 am

I really enjoyed reading this thread so figured I'd pay it forward. I'm about a month into a clerkship for a Sr. District Judge in a flyover district (i.e. very low key)

8:30-9:30: Get to work. Time depends on if the Judge will be in that day.
9:30-10:30: Get coffee, browse news, prep for any hearings that are happening that morning. If there's nothing, then start working on whatever memo/opinion I'm writing that day.
10:30-12:30: Hearings and/or more writing & research
12:30-1:30: go home for lunch (I'm a 5 min drive away)
Rest afternoon: Maybe more hearings (rare), and more writing
5 p.m.: go home (sometimes as early as 4 p.m. if it's slow) unless there's something I need to finish to have on the Judge's desk in the morning. I've only stayed past 5 twice.

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11921
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby kalvano » Tue Oct 04, 2016 1:38 pm

kapital98 wrote:
clshopeful wrote:Hard to feel bad for a guy who is going to jail after he got a DWI and then failed 5 drug tests..


Call me a bleeding heart but this is a person we are talking about. Not some faceless entity on a forum. The guy has a family and a job (which he'll probably lose due to jail). That's a month of his life that he'll never get back. All for being addicted to weed and admitting to a cop, on an ordinary traffic stop, that he was smoking a joint.

Jail time is highly unusual for a DWI. First time offenders usually get a violation with a $900 fine. People who get into accidents or have a criminal history plead to a misdemeanor and pay a $900 fine. This guy is getting a hard bargain. I wish we could take this to trial. Losing at trial won't be much (if any) worse than the deal. Still, he wants to plead so that's what we'll do.


So when he jumps in a car and mows down a family because he's too self-entitled to get a cab or an Uber after drinking, are you still going to feel sorry for him? Perhaps if we started enforcing actual punishment for DWI, the frequent occurrences would start to go down. At the very least, someone who selfishly chooses to put everyone else at risk will be off the streets for a while.

User avatar
Nebby
(tagline removed)
Posts: 27663
Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:23 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Nebby » Tue Oct 04, 2016 1:43 pm

kalvano wrote:
kapital98 wrote:
clshopeful wrote:Hard to feel bad for a guy who is going to jail after he got a DWI and then failed 5 drug tests..


Call me a bleeding heart but this is a person we are talking about. Not some faceless entity on a forum. The guy has a family and a job (which he'll probably lose due to jail). That's a month of his life that he'll never get back. All for being addicted to weed and admitting to a cop, on an ordinary traffic stop, that he was smoking a joint.

Jail time is highly unusual for a DWI. First time offenders usually get a violation with a $900 fine. People who get into accidents or have a criminal history plead to a misdemeanor and pay a $900 fine. This guy is getting a hard bargain. I wish we could take this to trial. Losing at trial won't be much (if any) worse than the deal. Still, he wants to plead so that's what we'll do.


So when he jumps in a car and mows down a family because he's too self-entitled to get a cab or an Uber after drinking, are you still going to feel sorry for him? Perhaps if we started enforcing actual punishment for DWI, the frequent occurrences would start to go down. At the very least, someone who selfishly chooses to put everyone else at risk will be off the streets for a while.

We should just kill him right now, huh?

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11921
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby kalvano » Tue Oct 04, 2016 1:46 pm

Nebby wrote:
kalvano wrote:
kapital98 wrote:
clshopeful wrote:Hard to feel bad for a guy who is going to jail after he got a DWI and then failed 5 drug tests..


Call me a bleeding heart but this is a person we are talking about. Not some faceless entity on a forum. The guy has a family and a job (which he'll probably lose due to jail). That's a month of his life that he'll never get back. All for being addicted to weed and admitting to a cop, on an ordinary traffic stop, that he was smoking a joint.

Jail time is highly unusual for a DWI. First time offenders usually get a violation with a $900 fine. People who get into accidents or have a criminal history plead to a misdemeanor and pay a $900 fine. This guy is getting a hard bargain. I wish we could take this to trial. Losing at trial won't be much (if any) worse than the deal. Still, he wants to plead so that's what we'll do.


So when he jumps in a car and mows down a family because he's too self-entitled to get a cab or an Uber after drinking, are you still going to feel sorry for him? Perhaps if we started enforcing actual punishment for DWI, the frequent occurrences would start to go down. At the very least, someone who selfishly chooses to put everyone else at risk will be off the streets for a while.

We should just kill him right now, huh?


I mean, I'm fine with a mandatory 10 years for first-time offenders, but if you want to go all the way, I don't know that I would object that much. DWI gets absolutely zero sympathy from me.

User avatar
Nebby
(tagline removed)
Posts: 27663
Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:23 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Nebby » Tue Oct 04, 2016 1:49 pm

I'm a little over a month in and my schedule is starting to take shape. Entry-level attorney and my practice is environmental and energy litigation at a nonprofit.

6:00am: Wake up and get ready for work
8:00-8:15am: Leave for office
8:30-8:45am: Arrive at office
8:30/45-9:30am: Read newspaper, check/respond to emails
9:30am-1:00pm: Research law or draft docs for litigation; occasional meeting with policy department to go over legal issues
1:00-1:30pm: Take a break and get out of the office for a bit
1:30pm-5:00pm: Continue working on docs or research
5:00pm: Leave office
Last edited by Nebby on Tue Oct 04, 2016 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
Nebby
(tagline removed)
Posts: 27663
Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:23 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Nebby » Tue Oct 04, 2016 1:51 pm

kalvano wrote:
I mean, I'm fine with a mandatory 10 years for first-time offenders, but if you want to go all the way, I don't know that I would object that much. DWI gets absolutely zero sympathy from me.

Image

User avatar
p1921
Posts: 171
Joined: Sun Aug 31, 2014 2:50 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby p1921 » Tue Oct 04, 2016 2:44 pm

Nebby wrote:
kalvano wrote:
I mean, I'm fine with a mandatory 10 years for first-time offenders, but if you want to go all the way, I don't know that I would object that much. DWI gets absolutely zero sympathy from me.

Image



Maybe he had a family member/friend who was seriously injured or killed because of someone driving drunk. Or is just empathetic to those he sees on the news everyday being the victim of a senseless and EASILY avoidable act like driving while under the influence or intoxicated. It seems a bit ridiculous to patronize someone contributing to the discussion with a valid point, albeit one that you don't agree with.

Edit: clarity

User avatar
JenDarby
Posts: 14637
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 3:02 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby JenDarby » Tue Oct 04, 2016 3:02 pm

please take this elsewhere

User avatar
Nebby
(tagline removed)
Posts: 27663
Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:23 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Nebby » Tue Oct 04, 2016 3:15 pm

p1921 wrote:Maybe he had a family member/friend who was seriously injured or killed because of someone driving drunk. Or is just empathetic to those he sees on the news everyday being the victim of a senseless and EASILY avoidable act like driving while under the influence or intoxicated. It seems a bit ridiculous to patronize someone contributing to the discussion with a valid point, albeit one that you don't agree with.

Edit: clarity

I assume there is some background for the disdain. My patronization had to do moreso with the fact that this is a thread about typical lawyer schedules, and somehow we're debating the retributive purposes of DUI laws

User avatar
A. Nony Mouse
Posts: 26797
Joined: Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:51 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Tue Oct 04, 2016 3:59 pm

So don't perpetuate the discussion, okay? No more about DUIs. Back to schedules.

User avatar
kalvano
Posts: 11921
Joined: Mon Sep 07, 2009 2:24 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby kalvano » Tue Oct 04, 2016 4:16 pm

A. Nony Mouse wrote:So don't perpetuate the discussion, okay? No more about DUIs. Back to schedules.


Typical lawyer schedules will likely lead to DUIs.

User avatar
Nebby
(tagline removed)
Posts: 27663
Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2014 12:23 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Nebby » Tue Oct 04, 2016 4:18 pm

kalvano wrote:
A. Nony Mouse wrote:So don't perpetuate the discussion, okay? No more about DUIs. Back to schedules.


Typical lawyer schedules will likely lead to DUIs.

:lol:

Anonymous User
Posts: 287543
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Nov 29, 2016 11:27 am

Figured I would add another data point. Clerking for a District Court judge in a flyover district.

8:00-8:30 am: Arrive at work
8:30 am-9:00 am: Check email, read news
9:00 am-12:40 pm: Attend hearings, research, draft orders, etc.
12:40 pm-1:25 pm: Go home for lunch and take dog out
1:25 pm-6:30 pm: Continue work from earlier

Overall a great experience. Biggest factor is that my judge and I get along very, very well. He is beyond accommodating to my schedule and I could not have asked for a better experience thus far.

User avatar
gmail2
Posts: 207
Joined: Wed Nov 09, 2016 1:58 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby gmail2 » Thu Dec 08, 2016 7:45 pm

kapital98 wrote:I worked for a year in legal aid and now own my own solo firm. At legal aid I did mostly eviction defense work with a little public assistance work on the side. In my solo firm I do primarily assigned counsel criminal work, assigned family work, retained divorces, and retained housing evictions. The day-to-day challenges are very different between jobs. I’ll describe both below. I’m condensing a number of partial days into one for a ‘general’ experience.


Awesome post.

Anonymous User
Posts: 287543
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:04 am

First Year Assistant District Attorney in NYC. Appeals Bureau.

745sh-845sh Commute. Unsuccessfully avoid fluids getting thrown on me in the subway.

9-10 Check my mailboxes (email and physical). Shoot the shit with other ADAs. Post on the internet.

10-10:30 Go over a CPL 440 post conviction motion response with a more senior ADA. Get back a ton of edits

10:30-12:30 Incorporate edits, do research for another motion or brief. Give a bunch of "No Position" responses to support staff to be filed.

12:30-1 Track down defense counsel and court attorneys to try to get an extension on a stupid CPL 440 motion.

1-2 Look at the sandwich I made, decide to go out and get something better.

2-4 Draft an office memo outlining why we should take no position on a motion to re-argue (hint, it's because the trial assistant and the judge fucked up)

4-5 Go over my spreadsheet I use to keep track of my assignments. Reflect on how little I accomplished today.


Essentially, I'm just a professional writer. Occasionally I'll have to do an oral argument or moot others for their arguments, but it's rare.

User avatar
lymenheimer
Posts: 3979
Joined: Sat Jul 04, 2015 1:54 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby lymenheimer » Mon Dec 12, 2016 12:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:First Year Assistant District Attorney in NYC. Appeals Bureau.

745sh-845sh Commute. Unsuccessfully avoid fluids getting thrown on me in the subway.

9-10:04 Check my mailboxes (email and physical). Shoot the shit with other ADAs. Post on the internet.

10:05-10:30 Go over a CPL 440 post conviction motion response with a more senior ADA. Get back a ton of edits

10:30-12:30 Incorporate edits, do research for another motion or brief. Give a bunch of "No Position" responses to support staff to be filed.

12:30-1 Track down defense counsel and court attorneys to try to get an extension on a stupid CPL 440 motion.

1-2 Look at the sandwich I made, decide to go out and get something better.

2-4 Draft an office memo outlining why we should take no position on a motion to re-argue (hint, it's because the trial assistant and the judge fucked up)

4-5 Go over my spreadsheet I use to keep track of my assignments. Reflect on how little I accomplished today.


Essentially, I'm just a professional writer. Occasionally I'll have to do an oral argument or moot others for their arguments, but it's rare.


ftfy

User avatar
ggocat
Posts: 1685
Joined: Sat Dec 13, 2008 1:51 pm

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby ggocat » Tue Jan 03, 2017 9:51 am

Anonymous User wrote:First Year Assistant District Attorney in NYC. Appeals Bureau.

Did you land in appeals first year out off law school or come in with some experience?

Anonymous User
Posts: 287543
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Jan 07, 2017 11:46 pm

Anonymous User wrote:[I got paranoid and deleted but since someone saw it, I'll put it back up.] Okay, I'll bite with a non-biglaw offering:

I'm a criminal AUSA. What my day looks like may not translate outside my district, given some specific characteristics of the crimes we see most. But in my district, for a newbie like myself (first year of work), here's what it looks like:

I am the lead/only attorney on almost all my cases (I'm also second-chair on a couple of cases). When I get assigned a new case, I review the file to identify which charges we're going to bring. That sounds impressive, but usually it's pretty clear what kind of a case it is so I'm just choosing between options. I also review the reports to make sure everything we need to prove the charges is in place. If there are any problems with the reports (which is fairly common), I call up the case agent and ask them about it (examples: is there a report from the state officers who were initially involved in the case? where did you get the photos for this lineup? do you have a recording of the interview?).

I also have to determine whether the defendant should be detained pending trial or not. Sometimes this is very straightforward and pro forma, sometimes I have to make an argument before a judge about it. (Make an argument = 2-3 minutes.) In some cases, it's necessary to put on evidence at a separate hearing on the issue, but I haven't had to do this yet.

Once that's taken care of, I need to draft an indictment to bring the case before the grand jury. This is very easy if it's a charge we see all the time/that I've indicted before because I can just reuse something; it's harder if it's the first time I've prosecuted a less common offense. My supervisor has to sign off on the indictment and I may need to consult a few people before submitting it.

I also need to draft a plea agreement. This isn't hard for about 95% of my cases, because we see so many of the same kinds of offenses that we have a lot of stock/standard pleas worked up for various situations. (This is also the case because I'm junior and get cases that look like they'll be pretty routine.) Writing a plea agreement from scratch is more complicated, because I have to figure out what kind of sentencing range to offer to sufficiently address the seriousness of the crime while still providing some benefit to encourage the defendant to take the plea.

Another big thing is disclosure. I don't have to do much to prepare the physical documents, but sometimes I manually redact reports. And I have to make sure all appropriate disclosure goes out to the defense attorneys, so there's a fair amount of keeping track of what's come in/gone out.

The next stage is indicting the case. I go before the grand jury with my agent, put my agent on the stand, and get them to testify to the probable cause underlying the charges. I go to grand jury probably 2 weeks out of 3, usually 1-3 cases each time.

After that point, I have to keep track of plea deadlines and contact defense counsel to check the status on their end. LOTS of my cases end with the defendant taking a plea (it's just the nature of the cases we get and what we charge). Even when they do, the deadlines often get continued, and it's part of my job to ensure that the continuances don't just drag on forever - at some point I have to be willing to say, Look, this is the last deadline, if you don't take the plea by then we'll go to trial. (I haven't had to do this very much yet and haven't figured out a great way to do it yet either; there are different approaches in the office.) I also respond to defense counsel questions/requests for a better deal.

In some cases, defendants file a formal motion - so far, motions to suppress evidence/statements - and I need to respond and prepare for an evidentiary hearing on the matter. Preparing means calling up the case agent to get them to round up the field agents to come in and talk to me about the case. (Or whoever needs to testify, but usually in my cases it's field agents.) I also have to prepare exhibits (if any), an exhibit list, and a witness list. (Half of the learning curve in this job is figuring out which documents you need to prepare and whether you file them with the court or bring them to the hearing, how many copies you need, etc.) At the evidentiary hearing I put on my witnesses and introduce my exhibits, defense counsel crosses, and I re-direct. (If defense put on witnesses I'd cross-examine, but that hasn't happened yet.) I also make legal argument at the end based on the testimony presented.

(Evidentiary hearings aren't everyday things. I have done one on my own and have 2 more upcoming, but a couple of the folks who started about 6 months before I did haven't done any yet. It just depends on the luck of the draw with your cases.)

If you get a defendant who doesn't want to plead, you go to trial. I haven't yet done a trial (though I have three scheduled for this summer), so I won't go into the details too much. There are a set of sort of stock motions in limine you need to file, depending again on the specific charge and circumstances of your case. You may have a hearing on motions in limine, to determine whether specific pieces of evidence are admissible (expert reports/criminal history/statements/etc.). You prep witnesses, exhibits, and go. Most of the cases that I handle are going to be 2 day trials, maybe 3, tops (if the defendant testifies, for instance).

In terms of a typical day: I get to work around 8:30. Probably 2-3 mornings a week I have routine court hearings, mostly changes of plea and sentencings. COPs require very little effort on my part beyond showing up (they can be more work for defense attorneys if halfway through the defendant balks at admitting what s/he needs to admit to enter a plea, though!).

Sentencings can be routine or more contested. Most of the time, the hardest work in a sentencing goes to the defendant, who is arguing for a lower sentence than has been recommended. Occasionally the government wants a different sentence than what's been recommended, or needs to put on evidence to establish, say, a particular sentencing enhancement. Mostly if you have a contested sentencing, you'd file a sentencing memo ahead of time (though a lot of defense counsel here are terrible about doing this). Putting on witnesses is uncommon, but can happen.

As I mentioned above, some weeks I also have to present at grand jury, which is usually in the mornings.

There aren't a lot of court hearings in the afternoon. That's usually when I identify questions I need to ask more experienced attorneys (that is, everyone), and tromp around the office trying to track down people who can answer. Or I make calls, or I work on writing projects. Or if I have something coming up (evid. hrg or trial or the like) I'll do witness prep. We also have trainings periodically. Other things that come up (that I haven't done yet but will) include going to detention centers to interview witnesses, or going to the scene of an offense to take pictures/get the lay of the land.

I almost always leave by 5:30, and the office empties out by then. If I have a trial or hearing coming up, I may work late or on the weekend. I know some people work longer hours but I haven't figured out what's typical and what's me still being new and so on.

Like I said, some of this is going to be specific to my district, and some of it is specific to me being a newbie. I'm not (yet) involved in a lot of investigations, which require a lot more work on the front end, building the case and working more directly with agents, which can change the nature of what you do (a lot more search warrants, for instance!).



Just checking to see if you still look at this site. If so, I have a few questions. Thank you. Ed

Anonymous User
Posts: 287543
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jan 08, 2017 2:07 am

Anonymous User wrote:Just checking to see if you still look at this site. If so, I have a few questions. Thank you. Ed

I'm the anon you quoted above, so ask away.

(FWIW, a lot of that is still the same, but I have more investigative stuff going on now that I'm not a newbie, and my hours, well, they've gotten worse. :P )

Anonymous User
Posts: 287543
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jan 09, 2017 5:20 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Just checking to see if you still look at this site. If so, I have a few questions. Thank you. Ed

I'm the anon you quoted above, so ask away.

(FWIW, a lot of that is still the same, but I have more investigative stuff going on now that I'm not a newbie, and my hours, well, they've gotten worse. :P )

@AUSA anon, can you PM me? I have some Q's about AUSA.
TYIA, []
Last edited by Anonymous User on Sat Feb 11, 2017 7:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Anonymous User
Posts: 287543
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:44 am

State district court law clerk here, thought I’d chime in.

I’m in a mid-size Western state. My court sits in the state capital and largest city, although it’s not the largest district in the state population-wise (it’s co-terminus with the city boundary, so misses the big suburbs). Still, we’re the busiest docket due to being in the state capital. District courts in my state are the main trial courts, with county courts below and court of appeals above. District courts have jurisdiction over all felonies and all civil matters above $15,000, plus probate and domestic.

My judge is currently on a criminal rotation. We generally have 250-300 cases assigned to our courtroom at any time, all at various points in the criminal process. My judge handles all the pre-conviction stuff, while I’m assigned all the post-conviction stuff. This means I’m drafting lots of orders in response to inmate’s motions for reconsideration, motions for new trial, etc. I also handle county court appeals, mostly from misdemeanor trials. I’m usually in the office from about 8:15ish until 4:30ish, unless a trial or hearing goes long. My judge doesn’t care much about my hours as long as I’m getting my work done.

My weeks usually look like this:

Monday: Docket day. Everyone with a court date shows up at 8:30 AM, along with public defenders (or, rarely, private counsel) and deputy district attorneys. Cases usually get called according to which PD/defendant is ready to go. Defendants in custody get called when the sheriff’s deputies get them moved over from jail. Mornings are for just about anything that doesn’t need a court reporter: preliminary hearings, arraignments, status conferences, disposition hearings, sentencing hearings, etc. The judge is dealing with cases rapid-fire from the bench, while the judicial assistant and I scramble to get dispositions recorded in the computer. Needless to say, it’s chaotic. We commonly get through 70-90 cases in four hours, but it’s generally not as bad as that might seem; lots of cases get continued for various reasons, and there are always several FTA’s. After a quick lunch, motions hearings start at 1:30 PM. These are much less stressful, and we usually only have one or two per afternoon.

Tuesday (with trial scheduled): Law clerks bailiff all trials in my district. If a trial is scheduled, I head down to the jury commissioner’s office around 9:00 AM to get the jury pool list, then to the jury assembly room to collect them. I then spend a half-hour or so wrangling them up to the courtroom (bathroom breaks FTW!). Once the jury pool is seated, I randomly call names to come up to the jury box. The judge then starts voir dire, and as the PD/DA strikes potential jurors I keep calling replacements until we get a full jury. After that, I’m pretty much a spectator, unless the judge needs me to collect exhibits or jury questions, etc. I also escort the jury to and from the jury room during breaks.

Wednesday – Thursday (with trial scheduled): Pretty much the same as Tuesday, minus voir dire. Once the jury retires to deliberate, I basically just hang around waiting for them to notify me that they’ve reached a verdict.

Tuesday – Thursday (no trial): I like these days; plenty of time to catch up on reading motions, drafting orders, and other miscellaneous tasks that get pushed aside when we’re in trial. Occasionally a hearing will pop up, but nothing major.

Friday: Docket day (unless a trial is scheduled). Pretty much the same as Monday, except Fridays tend to be lower volume.

We generally have two-four trials per month in my courtroom, but it can be really variable; I’ve had months where we don’t have any trials, and months where they get double-booked. It all depends on whether the defendant pleads out, and that depends on the charges/the DA’s willingness to cut a deal/the defendant’s stubbornness.

Worst part of the job: dealing with pro se defendants; sitting through testimony in sex assault on a child cases (really tragic, heartbreaking stuff).

Best part of the job: everything else!

Overall, I love my job; great hours, interesting and substantive work, and mostly low-stress. Plus, I get to see lots of advocacy, both good and bad. The exit options and prestige might not be as good as federal district court, but clerks in my district generally don’t have trouble finding post-clerking jobs, especially with the state AG’s office and local midlaw firms. Not bad at all for a first job out of law school!

Anonymous User
Posts: 287543
Joined: Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:32 am

Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Feb 13, 2017 2:31 pm

Would appreciate some insight from antitrust attorneys at large firms - particularly those on the lit side, but any information would be appreciated. Thanks!




Return to “Legal Employment”

Who is online

The online users are hidden on this forum.