Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

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lawschoolftw

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby lawschoolftw » Mon Aug 03, 2015 10:48 am

Anonymous User wrote:
lawschoolftw wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
to116 wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Junior associate at a specialized complex litigation boutique.

7:00 wake up, breakfast and coffee, read news, shower, etc.
8:45 leave for work, read fiction on the train
9:45 arrive at work, read news, and check emails
10:00 do work
1:00 run out to grab food somewhere, eat at desk while browsing Internet
1:30 resume working
6:30 go home, answer very occasional emails in the evening (probably average one every other night)

I have the occasional late night at the office, but I'd say I stay past 8:00 pm at most twice a month unless we're pre-trial or something. It's a good life.


this sounds pretty manageable. Are you in a major market?


Yes. East coast.



Do you have a low billable requirement? Doing rough math you're only working 8 hours a day, so even if you're super efficient you're only billing 7.5ish.


Yes. Requirement is 1600. And don't get me wrong, stuff comes up occasionally where I'm billing two 12-hour days in a row or staying till midnight to get a filing done, it's just not very common at all. I work hard when I need to, I don't when I don't need to.


Yeah, of course. You can't be in lit without having an occasional long night, was just curious how the numbers worked there. Congrats on what sounds like a kick-ass unicorn.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:17 am

lawschoolftw wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
lawschoolftw wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:
to116 wrote:
this sounds pretty manageable. Are you in a major market?


Yes. East coast.



Do you have a low billable requirement? Doing rough math you're only working 8 hours a day, so even if you're super efficient you're only billing 7.5ish.


Yes. Requirement is 1600. And don't get me wrong, stuff comes up occasionally where I'm billing two 12-hour days in a row or staying till midnight to get a filing done, it's just not very common at all. I work hard when I need to, I don't when I don't need to.


Yeah, of course. You can't be in lit without having an occasional long night, was just curious how the numbers worked there. Congrats on what sounds like a kick-ass unicorn.


Thanks. And yeah, I should probably clarify for anyone reading this who's contemplating law school that this is an unusual outcome and not something that you can assume will be accessible even if you kick ass in law school. I basically got this job by being in the right place at the right time after a couple years at a large firm. But firms like this do exist (and life is so damn good if you do find yourself working for one).

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Aug 24, 2015 4:54 pm

1st yr and only associate in a 2 partner commercial/general civil lit/transactional firm. We practice in both state and fed but, since mostly state. Clients are small, privately-held businesses or individuals.
Come in between 8-8:30, eat breakfast at work while I go through emails.
7:30-10:30: Drive to out of county court for hearing on motion to compel defendant to appear at subpoena. Drive is 3 hours all up, hearing is less than 10 minutes.
10:30-11:30: recap partner on hearing outcome. draft order.
11:30-12:00: lunch at my desk
12:00-12:15: call Dr. to schedule depo
12:15:-12:30: conferecne with paralegal re: filing order and service
12:30-2:30: complete research project for partner re: admissibility of certain evidence and recoverable damages for trial we have in a few months and discuss findings with him
2:30-3:00: revise complaint I drafted, task title compnay to run search, review service reqs and correspond with client about where she thinks defendant is
3:00-3:30: revise draft of complaint in another case
3:30-4:00: draft letter to disability insurance company about how they need to get us documents
4:00: tell my boss I'm done with everything he's asked me to do, say if there's nothing else I'm gonna leave early to run some errands. He says it's cool and there's no need for me to come in this weekend.
* This is a slower day because 1) it's Friday, 2) the other partner is on vacation and 3) we are not in the middle of trial prep or a deal. Durign the winter months I was billing 160-170 per month. Since the summer started, stuff's been slowerand it makes me worry I won't meet my 1800 billable reqs, but it's also the result of trial continuances (which will all coalesce so we'll have 2 back to back in a month).

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 29, 2015 12:35 am

I was one of two young associates doing trial briefing for a major trial in another city. In 7 days, I slept 4 hours (2 x 2 hour naps). It was so bad that I had to get a hotel for one of those naps, and had to get a hotel room the day the trial ended, as I was not safe to drive. You definitely have to be able to function with no sleep at times.
Just say no at some point. That's absolutely horrible for your long term health. I'll do 3 nights of sleep deprivation (i.e., 4 or less hours of sleep). After that I just say no and I go home and go to sleep for 6 or 7 hours.
Biglaw, v10, well-regarded mid-level.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Aug 29, 2015 12:49 am

So. If I'm busy (meaning 50-60 or so hours a week).

7:50 wake up.

9:00 at work. eat breakfast and make to do list / browse internet.

10:00 barely focused, but doing some work. 30/60 minutes work-related.

11:00 kinda dialed in. 45-50/60 minutes work related. Lunch at 1215 (same salad every day), eat at desk.

3:00 bored senseless. Mess around on the internet for an hour. Maybe go to the gym.

4:00 start working again. 45/60 minute productivity. (5:00 if I went to the gym).

6:00 entirely dialed in. Concerned I've wasted big chunks of the day, works frantically. Peak productivity period right here.

10:00 seamless and internet break for 45 minutes.

1:00 go home. wish I'd been more efficient.

Non-busy day (less than 40, in my area it's usually WAY less than 40).

9:15 wake up

10:35/40 at work. Internet time / barely work.

12:15 salad at my desk. work a little bit.

1:30 more dialed in. Get big chunk of my work for the day done here.

6:00 gym.

6:00 bang out all my work for the day.

9:00 home/go out.

Then there are terrible days and amazing days. I get a lot of these thrown in. Terrible is 20 hours, you woke up and worked, slept 4 hours, woke up and worked, slept 4 hours, woke up and worked, slept 6 hours, woke up and worked, slept 3 hours. Just no break, relentless, go to sleep sending emails and wake up wondering how many emails will be awaiting you.

Amazing days are less than 5 hours. They happen in M&A. You can leave at 3:00 if you want to. It's sweet.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 01, 2015 12:09 pm

First year honors attorney at federal agency.

My hope is to update this every year to show the progression in federal government since I haven't seen something similar yet. Feel free to correct me.

I work in more than one practice area in a small office doing both transactional and litigation work.

The following is a sample of a transaction, labor heavy day.

6am - wake up, eat breakfast, get ready, and go.

6:45-7:30am - get to work. Check emails. In one of the emails, alerted of potential personnel problem.

7:30-11:30am - research and writing for personnel case appellate brief. In between, get several emails with new guidance based on legislation from the previous day (this happens quite often).

11:30am-12pm - eat lunch with my boss and talk about football and food. This is a very enjoyable part of my day.

12pm-12:30pm - go back to my office. I see more emails and several notices for meetings I've been invited to for the week and next week. Usually these meetings are discussions involving one of the agency's departments and they need legal presence for compliance purposes.

12:30 - 1pm - continue working on brief.

1pm - 2pm - department head and HR person walk into my office regarding potential problem referenced above. We have an impromptu meeting discussing the legal implications and how the head wants to address it. Game plan is created.

2 - 3:15pm - HR stays behind after meeting to discuss another personnel case. Asks me to review documents before they get sent to the supervisor for signature. After we discuss I begin to review documents. I see potential problems in the drafts provided and begin editing. I see one document is missing altogether and email the supervisor for it.

3:15pm - leave for the day. Go run a personal errand.

3:45pm - get home and help my wife with dinner. I don't have to check my email or respond to calls since when I'm off I'm really off. Spend the rest of the day hanging out. On a good day we go out and have fun. On other days when I'm a bit more tired, we just stay in and watch movies or Netflix. Today was more of the latter.

10pm - religious bed time.

lawschoolftw

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby lawschoolftw » Tue Sep 01, 2015 2:42 pm

Anonymous User wrote:First year honors attorney at federal agency.

My hope is to update this every year to show the progression in federal government since I haven't seen something similar yet. Feel free to correct me.

I work in more than one practice area in a small office doing both transactional and litigation work.

The following is a sample of a transaction, labor heavy day.

6am - wake up, eat breakfast, get ready, and go.

6:45-7:30am - get to work. Check emails. In one of the emails, alerted of potential personnel problem.

7:30-11:30am - research and writing for personnel case appellate brief. In between, get several emails with new guidance based on legislation from the previous day (this happens quite often).

11:30am-12pm - eat lunch with my boss and talk about football and food. This is a very enjoyable part of my day.

12pm-12:30pm - go back to my office. I see more emails and several notices for meetings I've been invited to for the week and next week. Usually these meetings are discussions involving one of the agency's departments and they need legal presence for compliance purposes.

12:30 - 1pm - continue working on brief.

1pm - 2pm - department head and HR person walk into my office regarding potential problem referenced above. We have an impromptu meeting discussing the legal implications and how the head wants to address it. Game plan is created.

2 - 3:15pm - HR stays behind after meeting to discuss another personnel case. Asks me to review documents before they get sent to the supervisor for signature. After we discuss I begin to review documents. I see potential problems in the drafts provided and begin editing. I see one document is missing altogether and email the supervisor for it.

3:15pm - leave for the day. Go run a personal errand.

3:45pm - get home and help my wife with dinner. I don't have to check my email or respond to calls since when I'm off I'm really off. Spend the rest of the day hanging out. On a good day we go out and have fun. On other days when I'm a bit more tired, we just stay in and watch movies or Netflix. Today was more of the latter.

10pm - religious bed time.


sign me up.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Sep 05, 2015 1:11 am

NYC v10 biglaw, litigation, 3rd year

7:00-9:00 am: Wake up. Check phone for emails from partners or about any urgent issue that may have arisen overnight. If all clear (as is typical), go back to sleep/go to the gym/get up and have coffee, watch Sportscenter/news.

9:30-10:30 am: Get to office. Check email. Knock off any quick emails/assignments, check in with other associates and/or paralegals to make sure partners got our work product, projects are moving along, meetings scheduled etc.

10:30-11:15 am: Read news and/or updates about cases I am close to or that I know the partners follow closely.

11:15-2:00 am/pm: Do work. Could be a very wide range of work including calls/meetings/drafting motions or letters/prepping outlines or talking points for deps, meetings, hearings, reading documents etc. I also am regularly responding to a barrage of emails during this period (as I am throughout the day but 12-5 is the heaviest period).

2:00-2:30 pm: Grab lunch, bring it back to desk to eat. Read news/articles/relevant cases I haven't yet gotten around to reading

2:30-5:00 pm: See 11:15-2:00, though this window generally tends to be heavier on the meetings and calls.

5:00-5:30 pm: Walk around, shoot the shit with people. Sometimes grab coffee.

5:30-8:00 pm: Go back through emails to see what I haven't gotten to yet (there will always be something). Knock it out if it's quick, get other people on it with me if it's substantial, defer it till evening or morning if I will handle alone (depending on how busy I am, my interest, and the reviewing party). Check in with associates/paralegals on joint projects. Send progress update emails to seniors/partners.

8:00 pm: Order dinner

8:10-9:30 pm: Work on long-term projects or continue to address the day's assignments if on the busier side.

9:30-10:00 pm: Eat dinner. Read about/watch sports.

10:00 pm: Go home if I can; continue working if necessary

10:30-12:00 pm/am: If home, read (for pleasure) and respond to any work emails I get by phone. If at work, continue working on time-sensitive projects.

12:00-2:00 am: If home, go to sleep. If at work, continue working on time-sensitive projects, curse the individual whose mismanagement of the project resulted in me being at the office.

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kalvano

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby kalvano » Sat Sep 05, 2015 11:57 pm

That sounds miserable as all fuck.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 06, 2015 5:33 am

What about it?

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kalvano

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby kalvano » Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:37 pm

That's a ver very long work day.

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monsterman

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby monsterman » Sun Sep 06, 2015 1:54 pm

Yeah that is really rough. Makes me want to choose a market outside of NYC...

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 06, 2015 10:59 pm

That v10 associate's day is brutal... :shock:

Anon, can you narrow down what firm that is, and/or get into whether that is typical for lit in your firm or you're just a hard worker gunning for partner someday?

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5ky

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby 5ky » Sun Sep 06, 2015 11:04 pm

Anonymous User wrote:That v10 associate's day is brutal... :shock:

Anon, can you narrow down what firm that is, and/or get into whether that is typical for lit in your firm or you're just a hard worker gunning for partner someday?


i would qualify that as a busy day, but not a day that would strike me as at all unusual. i've had periods of several months where i expected to be at work until 10:00 p.m. minimum every day (occasionally i would get to leave before then, but i woke up expecting to have to be there). there will be a lot of those days no matter where you work -- no point in narrowing down the firm.

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rpupkin

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby rpupkin » Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:12 am

Anonymous User wrote:That v10 associate's day is brutal... :shock:

Anon, can you narrow down what firm that is, and/or get into whether that is typical for lit in your firm or you're just a hard worker gunning for partner someday?

LOL. That anon's schedule is not atypical. It could be (and often is) worse. The answer you're looking for isn't there. You're not going to avoid the anon's fate by going to Kirkland instead of SullCrom or by going to Skadden instead of Cravath.

Note that the anon doesn't start doing billable work until 11:15 a.m., and that he only works after 10 p.m. "if necessary." I've never worked in NYC, but my schedule—in both DC and west coast lit—was similar. I would just start earlier in the day and end earlier in the evening.

If that schedule looks "brutal" or "miserable" to you, then seriously consider not going into big law. Try to get a job in government right out of school.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Sep 07, 2015 2:03 pm

Anon here. I don't want to narrow that firm range down, but I generally agree with the others that have suggested the experience may not be that uncommon. That being said, there are definitely a couple of firms in that range who are probably lighter, and the non-nyc offices of some of these firms may be lighter. At my firm, I would say I am harder working than most lit peers in my class, and I know people at both ends of the spectrum (i.e. those who never seem to be working/here past 7 and those who never seem to stop working). This day doesn't really bother me too much. To respond to one comment, it's true I don't really bill much until 11 or so, but because working more in the morning wouldn't really save me at night, this is the optimal schedule for me.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby 5ky » Mon Sep 07, 2015 7:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:but because working more in the morning wouldn't really save me at night, this is the optimal schedule for me.


note: this sounds crazy but is generally true. my arrival time to the office in the morning has basically zero correlation to when i can leave, so i try to get in as late as i can

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Thu Sep 10, 2015 11:02 am

I work as in house counsel for an insurance company at the associate level. I love my job, the work, and the people I work with. Some days are fairly boring without much interesting things happening, and other days really interesting or cool stuff happens. I have been reading through everyone's comments on here and I felt like it would be a better representative sample of my work if I just gave you a snap shot of a typical day. Here it goes: (it was actually kind of fun to look back and think about what I actually did yesterday, because I DO NOT BILL HOURS so some weeks I am not even really sure what I have been doing with my time if I haven't accomplished anything significant.

7:40 am - Leave for work.

8:00 am - Arrive at work. Begin by reading emails, and I check the news to see if anything interesting is going on locally, nationwide, or in sports.

8:30 am - Work on responses to discovery requests. (Discovery work is probably my least favorite thing to do, so I am getting it out of the way earlier)

9:30 am - Give the rest of the discovery request to a legal assistant to complete, scan to pdf, and send off.

10:00 am - Review pending matters with local counsel that we have hired. This is one of my favorite parts of the job -- working with local counsel, because I am their client. I make decisions, give my input, ask them questions, ect. I've actually built some pretty good relationships with our local counsel (it is amazing how interested people are in talking to you when they are billing you). These attorneys also have many, many more years experience than I do, so I have been able to learn a lot just from dealing directly with them on our cases. In many ways, being a "client" who is also a lawyer is more fun than just being a lawyer. Hiring local counsel is always fun and interesting too.

11:00: General legal research or writing correspondence to opposing counsel (if we don't have local counsel involved). I also use this time to meet face to face with my boss and discuss upcoming matters, projects, or if I have any questions for him. I have a very, very approachable boss who is willing to help me with whatever I need help with and answer any questions I have, no matter how dumb the question might seem when I am asking it.

11:45: Surf the internet, mostly reading news.

12:00 pm: Lunch

1:00pm - Receive a letter from an attorney regarding an adverse decision the company has made against his client. The attorney informs me they are seeking arbitration of the matter. I review the file, looks like we might want to settle this one so I come up with an initial settlement offer. I call the attorney to speak about the case and get a feeling of if I should propose the settlement right now or wait. He isn't in his office and apparently doesn't have anyone answering his phones because I leave him a voicemail. Part of me would like to take this case to arbitration.

2:30pm : Go hang out in the bathroom to get away. I surf the internet or might even play an online game of the card game Hearts.

3:00pm : Respond to emails from the company's employees. Some are true legal advice, others are common sense, and some I am not sure why they are sent to me.

4:00 pm: Work on a writing assignment for an appeal case.

5:15 pm: Go home

For the remainder of the evening, I will casually monitor emails on my phone. It is rare to get any emails after 9:00pm. If I do receive any evening emails I will respond if they are quick and easy answers or they are urgent, but most of them usually will wait until tomorrow. I am one of those people who is addicted to my phone/ work email. Even if I don't respond immediately, I need to check it and read the email so I am aware of what is going on. For some reason it helps me sleep at night.

Probably not the most interesting day for some people, but I truly do love the work and the job. Couldn't be happier.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby rinehart27 » Sat Sep 12, 2015 3:27 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I work as in house counsel for an insurance company at the associate level.


Mind sharing the approximate pay?

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 13, 2015 9:00 am

Insurance in house counsel above:
Experience 1-3 year, small market city.
Salary is approximately $99k
Cash bonus: varies each year depending on profitability.
Stock options: Restricted stock and incentive stock options.
All of the other things you'd expect working at a company, 401k, retirement savings account, health ins, ect.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Danger Zone » Sun Sep 13, 2015 12:30 pm

Damn that sounds like a great job.
Last edited by Danger Zone on Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Greenandgold

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Greenandgold » Sun Sep 13, 2015 6:14 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Insurance in house counsel above:
Experience 1-3 year, small market city.
Salary is approximately $99k
Cash bonus: varies each year depending on profitability.
Stock options: Restricted stock and incentive stock options.
All of the other things you'd expect working at a company, 401k, retirement savings account, health ins, ect.


Did you leave biglaw for this position? Just curious as to whether or not you took a big pay cut for the better work/life balance. Sounds like a great gig!

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Sep 13, 2015 7:01 pm

No I didn't leave big law for this job.
This was my first gig out of law school. So I have never had the big law money or hours.

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DFTHREAD

Postby Desert Fox » Mon Sep 14, 2015 1:37 am

Image
Last edited by Desert Fox on Sat Jan 27, 2018 3:57 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Sep 15, 2015 11:58 am

Big market in South, Biglaw commercial litigator, junior associate--

9am - typical arrival time (earlier if needed, later if slow with work)
9:15am - read and triage emails and new assignments
9:30am - work on assignments (legal research, drafting motions or discovery, confer with clients or colleagues)
12pm - lunch, either nearby office or at home if I need to let the dog out
1:30pm - back to office, continue working on projects, typically some meetings
7pm - average departure time.


After writing this, I realize I don't really have a typical day. I often can't tell anyone what I will be working on over the next few days because the work flow is so dynamic. You definitely have to be flexible.



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