Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

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Anonymous User
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Mar 06, 2016 7:26 pm

Interesting. Thanks guys! I'm wondering if it's smart to take steps towards specializing in family law when big firms don't typically have those departments.

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zot1
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby zot1 » Sun Mar 06, 2016 8:02 pm

It's smart to specialize in family law if you want to do family law. If you want BigLaw, don't bother.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Wed Mar 16, 2016 1:37 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Could any family lawyers out there jump in? Very curious about the plausibility of getting a decently-paying job in this field.


IANALY (I'm an 0L), but I work for an attorney that practices family and criminal law in his own small firm (starting to grow to more attorneys). Located in a semi-Rural area on the east coast. As others said, there can be a lot of money in divorce if you're in the right location, are competent and get some good experience and your name out there. The attorney I work for has been growing each year he has been practicing. Still gets a large amount of criminal clients, but the money comes from the family law stuff.

Idk how it is in large cities, but here, he is able to make a pretty good living coming in well after 9 am and staying in the evenings until about 5, sometimes later, and sometimes on the weekends to do paperwork. But that's more a function of handling a lot of the bull crap that comes with having your own firm. H'es thinking of doing less crim stuff and focusing solely on the family stuff. So for him, a day might consist of a court appearance in the morning, into the office (if no court) at about 1030 or 11, lunch from 12 -1, office appointments scattered throughout the day with prospective clients/current clients to discuss a case. Luckily, we are in an area where everyone kinda knows everyone, the courts are really laid back and you can call up and talk to someone you know if you have a question. This allows him to hire someone like me to draft Petitions for Custody/Visitation/Support, File Divorce, Motions to Amend Custody, etc. and they are all forms that can be reused and just replace some of the names and facts with the current situation. When I hear other people talk about family law in other areas, it blows my mind how different it seems or how strict everything is.

Honestly, I hadn't ever considered family law, and idk if I will eventually go into it, but the money it brings in, how interesting it is and can be, and the situations in which you can really help people make it enticing. As with anything else, though, there are some drawbacks, annoyances, and clients that are total pieces of crap, but that's any kind of law really.

smallfirmassociate
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby smallfirmassociate » Fri Mar 18, 2016 2:51 pm

I do family law. To me, family law is like butter. It's one of the best things ever when it's in the right amount, but if it's all you eat, you're going to vomit.

Personally, if my practice were more than 20% family law long-term, I'd go crazy. You're basically dealing with individuals whom are self-selected for certain traits. Unable to negotiate with a person they are married to, unwilling to find easy solutions, manipulative, competitive, and just generally irrational. Rational people either work things out themselves or with minimal lawyer time. Thus, 80% of your family law work will be with your 20% least rational clients. It's like professional babysitting + counseling + part-time lawyering.

Also, attorneys who do a lot of family law just tend to be scumbags. Again, in my experience; there are exceptions. If you dabble, you'll be working with that type of lawyer a lot.

The money can be good, yes. I have a divorce between millionaires in which the husband owns a company. Expert witness appraisals, depositions, all kinds of work plus fighting over every issue. But it's not fun. Find a way to give it a good, long test drive in an internship or clinic or something before you drive straight in.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Mar 18, 2016 11:59 pm

is capital markets (a bit more on the underwriter side I think) on average better than M&A (mostly PE, some public) in terms of predictable workflow and generally fewer hours billed on weekends? :D

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JusticeHarlan
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby JusticeHarlan » Mon Mar 21, 2016 7:09 am

Anonymous User wrote:is capital markets (a bit more on the underwriter side I think) on average better than M&A (mostly PE, some public) in terms of predictable workflow and generally fewer hours billed on weekends? :D

Probably fair to say that there's at least marginally less weekend work and marginally more predicable workflow for capital markets than M&A, since it's probably fair to say that every group has at least marginally less weekend work and marginally more predicable workflow than M&A. But remember that in capital markets work, the client is basically playing the market, and can react to how the fed minutes are being reported on CNBC or how a certain small cap biotech NASDAQ index traded before noon, and then they decide they really need that prospectus filed by some arbitrary time so they can start pitching to investors on some arbitrary day, and you'll be very much blamed if it's not on EDGAR by then with glossy copies delivered before the teach-ins early next morning.

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FlanAl
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby FlanAl » Mon Mar 21, 2016 9:53 pm

What a great thread!

Small Town (kind of) Public Defender:

Typical Day 1
6AM wake up check email/get ready for work
7:10AM drive to courthouse
8AM arrive at courthouse
8-10AM Meet with clients to go over paperwork for issues that have hopefully already been negotiated. Negotiate the other issues prosecutors. Go in front of judge for a hearing, this totally runs the gambit.
10-10:30AM Drive to a different courthouse, repeat the same as above.
12:30 lunch, usually at desk but if I'm at one of the courts that's far from my desk I'll eat at a restaurant that's close
1PM Afternoon court (see above)
3:30-6PM back at my desk doing my best to call clients, go over discovery, write motions, negotiate with prosecutors, prepare for trials etc.

Typical day 2
Basically the same as above but I only have court in the morning or the afternoon, this results in more office time. It can also involve me going to a court that's closer to my house so I get to leave closer to 7:45.

I also get to do bench and jury trials which dramatically alters the above schedule. I'd say that typical day one and two happen maybe 3 times a week. Things can change dramatically and quickly. Feel free to PM.

adil91
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby adil91 » Sat Mar 26, 2016 1:45 am

Anonymous User wrote:Attorney at the law department of one of the largest US cities, and I have ~0-2 years experience. Pay is in the $50k-$65k range, which sucks, but it's LRAP/PSLF eligible (plus I'll get a pension). Don't want to out my practice area, but it's an area with high volume, lots of hard deadlines, and (usually) lots of individual responsibility. Oh, and probably the greatest part is that we don't have to bill any hours since we just do a weekly timesheet; I average about 40 hours a week, which doesn't include lunch.

7am: Wake up, get ready for the day. Might check my email once before I leave just to see if anything big happened overnight/early in the morning but it's not necessary at all.
830am-930am: Arrive at work, respond to any urgent emails from the night before (not super common, but it happens), and do some necessary daily work that's more administrative than legal in nature.
930am-12pm: If I have anything urgent (which happens a lot since we have a lot of hard deadlines) I'll get it done during the morning. Otherwise, I usually just break into whatever is due over the next week or so to try to get out ahead of things. Since we have a lot of individual responsibility, I like that I can effectively prioritize things myself and go back and forth between tasks as necessary without my supervisor breathing down my neck. For whatever reason, I find that I send/receive a LOT more emails in the morning than in the afternoon. I'd say the work I do is mostly drafting documents, performing legal research and writing memos, and advising my "clients" (the different city agencies) about various things in the area of law I practice.
12pm-1pm: Grab lunch with coworkers or just eat at my desk. My coworkers and I try to find excuses to go out and eat whenever we can...
1pm-530pm: Finish up anything urgent or work on some longer term projects. Depending on how busy I am I'll find excuses to go talk with coworkers about what they're working on, or try to help them out with stuff if needed. I'm typically out around 530pm but during a busy period we might stay until 6pm or a little later.
530pm-bedtime: I'll check my work email once or twice just out of curiosity but like in the morning, it's not necessary at all and I won't respond to anything unless it's absolutely urgent.

Generally the work is pretty substantive, but sometimes it just feels so... same-y, just because we're only doing one specific thing. I'd say the biggest surprise I've had is how much I get to interact with important people throughout the city (no, I don't ever get to email the mayor haha, but I regularly call/email the heads of various departments, etc.).


Hey, I'm interested in working for a city after I graduate. Would you mind PM'ing about how you got your job, more specifics about your job etc. Thanks

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Pleasye
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Pleasye » Sat Mar 26, 2016 1:58 pm

FlanAl wrote:What a great thread!

Small Town (kind of) Public Defender:

Typical Day 1
6AM wake up check email/get ready for work
7:10AM drive to courthouse
8AM arrive at courthouse
8-10AM Meet with clients to go over paperwork for issues that have hopefully already been negotiated. Negotiate the other issues prosecutors. Go in front of judge for a hearing, this totally runs the gambit.
10-10:30AM Drive to a different courthouse, repeat the same as above.
12:30 lunch, usually at desk but if I'm at one of the courts that's far from my desk I'll eat at a restaurant that's close
1PM Afternoon court (see above)
3:30-6PM back at my desk doing my best to call clients, go over discovery, write motions, negotiate with prosecutors, prepare for trials etc.

Typical day 2
Basically the same as above but I only have court in the morning or the afternoon, this results in more office time. It can also involve me going to a court that's closer to my house so I get to leave closer to 7:45.

I also get to do bench and jury trials which dramatically alters the above schedule. I'd say that typical day one and two happen maybe 3 times a week. Things can change dramatically and quickly. Feel free to PM.

I remember seeing you post a lot in the 3L public defender thread so just wanted to say congrats! Hope you're liking it.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Fri Apr 01, 2016 8:07 pm

deepseapartners wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:Generally the work is pretty substantive, but sometimes it just feels so... same-y, just because we're only doing one specific thing. I'd say the biggest surprise I've had is how much I get to interact with important people throughout the city (no, I don't ever get to email the mayor haha, but I regularly call/email the heads of various departments, etc.).

Is this a step towards something more for you, or do you see yourself staying here for the foreseeable future?

Sorry it's taken me a bit to reply. Genuinely, no clue. I don't really want to get pigeonholed in the area I'm in now, but at the same time if this ends up being what I do for the rest of my life I feel like I'd be better off than 90% of attorneys end up and so I couldn't complain. So... who knows. Definitely want to give it at least a few years though. My impression, at least in my office, is people tend to bounce around between different practice areas every few years, so I might end up doing that.

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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 05, 2016 10:15 am

Criminal defense and immigration at a very small firm. I love it -- never a dull day!

A typical day:

Arrive in criminal court at 8:30 am. Speak to the client and the prosecutor and the clerk, figure out what's happening that day, try to get my case called quickly so I don't waste too much time waiting in court. I might be doing any number of things -- in the last month I've litigated several motions to dismiss, motions to suppress (cross-examining police officers, horay!), a motion to disclose the identity of a confidential informant, plea colloquy, etc. Trials happen less often but we've had two this winter and should have several more this spring.

Arrive back in the office any time between 10:00 and 3:00 depending on how long I've spent in court. I usually have at least one if not 2 or 3 appointments in the afternoon. These will be a mix of intakes (meeting a new potential client to figure out what the issues will be in their case, whether and how we can help them, reviewing the contract if they want to hire us, etc), and meetings with current clients and their families. Sometimes these meetings are easy ("here is the list of documents I need to prepare your application") and sometimes they are challenging ("let's discuss the pros and cons of taking the latest plea deal offered by the prosecutor" / "I need to withdraw from your case because of a conflict of interest" / "I'm sorry, Potential Client, you are very likely to be deported and there is nothing I can do to help you, so please don't give me any money.").

When I'm in the office and not meeting with clients, I'm typically doing a mix of the following things:
--Legal research and writing for motions, appellate briefs, memos to attach to immigration applications, or just tricky issues that have come up in my clients' cases.
--Investigation in connection with a criminal case -- calling witnesses, educating myself on background factual issues that have come up in the case.
--Returning calls from clients with questions about their cases, or calling them to follow up with requests for payment and/or documents. Or just reassuring the ones who are very stressed / emotional, and occasionally setting boundaries or even firing the ones who cross the line with me or staff.
--Reading newsletters, blogs, etc to try to keep up with new developments in my fields.
--Pestering my colleagues or co-defendants' counsel to brainstorm legal strategy, client relations strategy, etc.
--Assigning work to my paralegal and reviewing work she has completed -- editing her writing in simple motions or letters to clients, checking forms she has filled out, etc.

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Lacepiece23
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Lacepiece23 » Tue Apr 05, 2016 8:08 pm

Anonymous User wrote:Criminal defense and immigration at a very small firm. I love it -- never a dull day!

A typical day:

Arrive in criminal court at 8:30 am. Speak to the client and the prosecutor and the clerk, figure out what's happening that day, try to get my case called quickly so I don't waste too much time waiting in court. I might be doing any number of things -- in the last month I've litigated several motions to dismiss, motions to suppress (cross-examining police officers, horay!), a motion to disclose the identity of a confidential informant, plea colloquy, etc. Trials happen less often but we've had two this winter and should have several more this spring.

Arrive back in the office any time between 10:00 and 3:00 depending on how long I've spent in court. I usually have at least one if not 2 or 3 appointments in the afternoon. These will be a mix of intakes (meeting a new potential client to figure out what the issues will be in their case, whether and how we can help them, reviewing the contract if they want to hire us, etc), and meetings with current clients and their families. Sometimes these meetings are easy ("here is the list of documents I need to prepare your application") and sometimes they are challenging ("let's discuss the pros and cons of taking the latest plea deal offered by the prosecutor" / "I need to withdraw from your case because of a conflict of interest" / "I'm sorry, Potential Client, you are very likely to be deported and there is nothing I can do to help you, so please don't give me any money.").

When I'm in the office and not meeting with clients, I'm typically doing a mix of the following things:
--Legal research and writing for motions, appellate briefs, memos to attach to immigration applications, or just tricky issues that have come up in my clients' cases.
--Investigation in connection with a criminal case -- calling witnesses, educating myself on background factual issues that have come up in the case.
--Returning calls from clients with questions about their cases, or calling them to follow up with requests for payment and/or documents. Or just reassuring the ones who are very stressed / emotional, and occasionally setting boundaries or even firing the ones who cross the line with me or staff.
--Reading newsletters, blogs, etc to try to keep up with new developments in my fields.
--Pestering my colleagues or co-defendants' counsel to brainstorm legal strategy, client relations strategy, etc.
--Assigning work to my paralegal and reviewing work she has completed -- editing her writing in simple motions or letters to clients, checking forms she has filled out, etc.


Can you pm me?

tyroneslothrop1
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby tyroneslothrop1 » Wed Apr 06, 2016 2:05 pm

First year litigation associate at 50 lawyer firm representing public entities, insurance companies, and some businesses. Coastal state, non DC/NY/SF. 85K plus bonus. 1920 hourly target but most miss it and they don't seem to mind. Little weekend/late night work unless you want it.

7:20: wake up
8:00: arrive at work.
8-12: Check email, receive assignments from partners, get documents from clients, meet clients, draft motions. Often, like today, I have a large pleading and will only work on that.
12-1: lunch, in office or out, depending on the day. Going out to lunch everyday is perfectly acceptable.
1-6:30 see above.

I like my job so far. I get great experience relative to my T14 classmates. My cases are myself and a partner, generally. I do good work and write well so I get quality cases (a not insignificant % of our cases are bullshit personal injury cases). I'll probably explore a move to other, larger firms in a year or two for more money. Biglaw firms have satelite offices and hire from my firm.

ontopoftheworld
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby ontopoftheworld » Sat Apr 09, 2016 2:29 pm

how important is your choice of classes in terms of the field you choose?
do i have to decide a path and forever stick to it?

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deepseapartners
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby deepseapartners » Sat Apr 09, 2016 2:40 pm

ontopoftheworld wrote:how important is your choice of classes in terms of the field you choose?
do i have to decide a path and forever stick to it?

I'd make a new post in the Legal Employment forum if I were you. This is kind of off-topic on this particular stickied thread.

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ellewoods817
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby ellewoods817 » Thu Apr 14, 2016 12:54 am

Does anyone have experience at EPA or a boutique environmental firm? I'd like to get a sense of the major lifestyle differences between firm work and gov't work in this field!

Anonymous User
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:09 pm

First year at a small transactional boutique. Our practice is split about 50% business/50% entertainment. I don't really have a typical day, but I'll make one up based on stuff I've done lately.

6:30 Wake up
7:30 Leave for work
9:00 Arrive at the office. Spend some time checking emails, arranging my calendar, making my to-do list, caffeinating, breaking fast, and reading Law360 and THR, Esq.
9:40 Review partner's revisions on a settlement agreement. Do some last minute proofing and send to client.
10:00 Hop on a Skype conference call with a business client looking to sell some software. Mark up purchase and sale agreement for later review.
11:30 Do some quick research for partner's early afternoon TV appearance.
12:00 Check state database to see that new LLC we formed for a movie production company has been added. Send client an update email and start working on an operating agreement.
2:00 Call SAG/AFTRA office to get details about individual agreement new TV production is working under. Make list of recommendations for when we negotiate better terms for talent client. Confer with senior associate.
3:00 Feeding time. Try to find some interesting CLEs to fit in my schedule. Check sports scores/analysis and see what time the baseball game starts. Typically people won't bother me when I'm on my lunch break, even if I eat at my desk. Sometimes though the phone rings and I have to take notes during a client call while I shove my face.
4:00 Sports client comes in the office for a meeting. Review a services agreement and make necessary changes.
5:00 Make changes to employment agreement a client has been offered. It's not written by a lawyer so it needs a complete overhaul.
6:30 Send out late emails on behalf of literary client negotiating a new book deal.
7:00 Try to catch up on anything I didn't finish for the day. Double-check billing entries, make to-do list for tomorrow.
7:30 Leave
9:00 Get home, eat, watch the game (or what's left of it).
11:00 Bedtime

I don't have a set billable requirement, just hours that I am supposed to be in the office (I've never stayed past 8PM). While I might peek at emails that come in late, I'm not really expected to respond until the morning.

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Glasseyes
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Glasseyes » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:19 pm

Anonymous User wrote:7:30 Leave for work
9:00 Arrive at the office. Spend some time checking emails, arranging my calendar, making my to-do list, caffeinating, breaking fast, and reading Law360 and THR, Esq.
...
7:30 Leave
9:00 Get home, eat, watch the game (or what's left of it).


sounds like a sweet gig, but daaamn that commute is rough, even for LA

Anonymous User
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Tue Apr 26, 2016 11:34 pm

Glasseyes wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:7:30 Leave for work
9:00 Arrive at the office. Spend some time checking emails, arranging my calendar, making my to-do list, caffeinating, breaking fast, and reading Law360 and THR, Esq.
...
7:30 Leave
9:00 Get home, eat, watch the game (or what's left of it).


sounds like a sweet gig, but daaamn that commute is rough, even for LA

Sadly I'm not even in LA. My commute sucks because I live with family to keep my COL down so I can pay down these damn loans.

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FSK
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby FSK » Wed Apr 27, 2016 2:56 pm

Entertainment dude, hit me with a PM if you'd be willing to spill more about how you got the job.

Anonymous User
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:18 pm

First year Commercial Real Estate/Corporate Law, Boutique Firm, Major U.S. Market. No billable requirement.


7:00 AM - wake up, breakfast, get ready
8:15 AM - leave house
8:45-9:15AM - arrive at work
9:15-11:00AM - answer e-mails from the night before, review what deals will be closing soon and what still needs to be done in the way of due diligence, etc.
11AM-12:00PM - reviewing loan documents/drafting and amending various organizational documents for entities in preparation for acquisition or financing (usually our clients operate through LLCs, so, operating agreements, articles of organization, etc.)
12PM - 1PM - Lunch - usually at my desk while surfing the web, sometimes I go out. I try to take a little bit of time during the day to step away.
1PM - 5PM - conference calls/status calls with lenders and clients on various deals, as well as other client work such as drafting/reviewing commercial leases or purchase and sale agreements.
5:30-6:00PM - finish up for the day, send final e-mails, head out.

If a big deal is closing I'll be in the office later than above, but typically I'm out by 5:30 /6:30

Anonymous User
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:25 pm

Anonymous User wrote:First year Commercial Real Estate/Corporate Law, Boutique Firm, Major U.S. Market. No billable requirement.


7:00 AM - wake up, breakfast, get ready
8:15 AM - leave house
8:45-9:15AM - arrive at work
9:15-11:00AM - answer e-mails from the night before, review what deals will be closing soon and what still needs to be done in the way of due diligence, etc.
11AM-12:00PM - reviewing loan documents/drafting and amending various organizational documents for entities in preparation for acquisition or financing (usually our clients operate through LLCs, so, operating agreements, articles of organization, etc.)
12PM - 1PM - Lunch - usually at my desk while surfing the web, sometimes I go out. I try to take a little bit of time during the day to step away.
1PM - 5PM - conference calls/status calls with lenders and clients on various deals, as well as other client work such as drafting/reviewing commercial leases or purchase and sale agreements.
5:30-6:00PM - finish up for the day, send final e-mails, head out.

If a big deal is closing I'll be in the office later than above, but typically I'm out by 5:30 /6:30


I have a question in regards to the commercial real estate aspect of your work if you wouldn't mind PMing me

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A. Nony Mouse
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:42 pm

You can't be PMed if you're anonymous.

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Danger Zone
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Danger Zone » Sat Apr 30, 2016 11:44 pm

Dayum. I am jealous, especially after spending my entire Saturday closing a deal.

Anonymous User
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Re: Lawyers: What's Your Typical Day?

Postby Anonymous User » Sun May 01, 2016 12:20 am

Anonymous User wrote:
Anonymous User wrote:First year Commercial Real Estate/Corporate Law, Boutique Firm, Major U.S. Market. No billable requirement.


7:00 AM - wake up, breakfast, get ready
8:15 AM - leave house
8:45-9:15AM - arrive at work
9:15-11:00AM - answer e-mails from the night before, review what deals will be closing soon and what still needs to be done in the way of due diligence, etc.
11AM-12:00PM - reviewing loan documents/drafting and amending various organizational documents for entities in preparation for acquisition or financing (usually our clients operate through LLCs, so, operating agreements, articles of organization, etc.)
12PM - 1PM - Lunch - usually at my desk while surfing the web, sometimes I go out. I try to take a little bit of time during the day to step away.
1PM - 5PM - conference calls/status calls with lenders and clients on various deals, as well as other client work such as drafting/reviewing commercial leases or purchase and sale agreements.
5:30-6:00PM - finish up for the day, send final e-mails, head out.

If a big deal is closing I'll be in the office later than above, but typically I'm out by 5:30 /6:30


I have a question in regards to the commercial real estate aspect of your work if you wouldn't mind PMing me


oops didn't mean to post anon.




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