Lattering into civil law and I don't know what I am doing

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Lattering into civil law and I don't know what I am doing

Postby Anonymous User » Sun Jul 23, 2017 7:53 pm

I am transferring into civil law, specifically employment defense, and I don't have any experience practicing civil law. I've done criminal law which consists of trial work, quick work in court and with prosecutors, copy paste motion to suppress evidence. I don't do legal research/writing, have any knowledge of employment defense, or regularly write. Essentially all the things we learn in law school that I hopefully still have in my mind.

How can I get up to speed to prepare myself for civil work? I want to find a secondary source or textbook on employment law to become familiar with the topic, but that may be overkill (and plus my lexis criminal account doesn't have access to it). Any suggestions?

kykiske

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Re: Lattering into civil law and I don't know what I am doing

Postby kykiske » Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:14 am

Assuming your firm is reasonable, the partners/senior associates will train and teach you the area of law (both substantive and procedural).

Though, I would recommend you have an understanding of the governing civil procedure rules (whether state or federal). Further, if your state or federal district has specific local rules, I'd become familiar with those as well. There is no harm in being someone who knows the governing procedural rules.

Legal research/writing (I think) is like riding a bike. You don't really forget, though, you may need to shake off some rust. Not to mention, if your firm has Westlaw or Lexis, you can work with reference attorneys to aid in your research. Legal writing is pretty simple when you break it down: Conclusion, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion.

Your firm likely hired you because they believed you had the underlying skills to become a good lawyer practicing in employment defense. Skills are transferable. Knowledge can be taught.

Finally, always be willing to listen more than you talk. If you listen well, you will grow as an attorney in this specific area. The partners became successful for a reason.

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PeanutsNJam

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Re: Lattering into civil law and I don't know what I am doing

Postby PeanutsNJam » Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:20 am

You do trial work without doing any legal research or writing? I know you don't have to contend with MSJs and stuff like that but is criminal law really so boilerplate you can copy paste everything?

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A. Nony Mouse

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Re: Lattering into civil law and I don't know what I am doing

Postby A. Nony Mouse » Mon Jul 24, 2017 10:25 am

At the state level, frequently. Facts frequently repeat in the basic cases, and a lot of argument is done orally. The court doesn't want to read stuff when everyone knows the legal standards and the facts are the same kinds you see in most cases. (Keep in mind that a lot of cases people see in the early years are going to be triable in a morning/afternoon, or one day.)

FSK

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Re: Lattering into civil law and I don't know what I am doing

Postby FSK » Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:23 am

A. Nony Mouse wrote:At the state level, frequently. Facts frequently repeat in the basic cases, and a lot of argument is done orally. The court doesn't want to read stuff when everyone knows the legal standards and the facts are the same kinds you see in most cases. (Keep in mind that a lot of cases people see in the early years are going to be triable in a morning/afternoon, or one day.)


Yeah it doesn't take long to call one arresting officer and quibble over his testimony a bit. You might spend more time calling and seleting the jury than anything else.
Last edited by FSK on Sat Jan 27, 2018 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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AVBucks4239

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Re: Lattering into civil law and I don't know what I am doing

Postby AVBucks4239 » Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:30 pm

This might sound dorky, but one thing I did early on was read the civil rules. There's a ton that you didn't learn in law school and there's goofy deadlines floating all over the place.

For instance, here in Ohio, many magistrates author decisions rather than the judge. I hope I'm getting this right, but I think you have ten days to appeal a magistrate's "judgment entry" and 14 days to move to set aside a magistrate's "order." Reading the rule at least makes you aware of this distinction so you know to at least look at the rule to check your appeal time.

Another example, when you serve discovery, the rules require you to send an electronic copy. I've been burned once when the time to respond came and opposing counsel basically said, "Sorry, the clock hasn't started yet because you didn't send an electronic copy." Again, at least reading rule 33 would make you aware that it's not just form bullshit, and you should check the rule before sending them out.

In sum, take an hour or two to peruse the civil rules. Consult them both when you get something (to check your deadlines) and before you file your response to it.

Also always reference your local rules, especially if you're in federal court. Federal judges have a tendency to think so highly of themselves that they make rules regarding font size, margins, etc.

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Re: Lattering into civil law and I don't know what I am doing

Postby Anonymous User » Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:48 pm

kykiske wrote:Assuming your firm is reasonable, the partners/senior associates will train and teach you the area of law (both substantive and procedural).

Though, I would recommend you have an understanding of the governing civil procedure rules (whether state or federal). Further, if your state or federal district has specific local rules, I'd become familiar with those as well. There is no harm in being someone who knows the governing procedural rules.

Legal research/writing (I think) is like riding a bike. You don't really forget, though, you may need to shake off some rust. Not to mention, if your firm has Westlaw or Lexis, you can work with reference attorneys to aid in your research. Legal writing is pretty simple when you break it down: Conclusion, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion.

Your firm likely hired you because they believed you had the underlying skills to become a good lawyer practicing in employment defense. Skills are transferable. Knowledge can be taught.

Finally, always be willing to listen more than you talk. If you listen well, you will grow as an attorney in this specific area. The partners became successful for a reason.


What's the best way to find local civil rules? County website?

kykiske

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Re: Lattering into civil law and I don't know what I am doing

Postby kykiske » Mon Jul 24, 2017 1:28 pm

Anonymous User wrote:
kykiske wrote:Assuming your firm is reasonable, the partners/senior associates will train and teach you the area of law (both substantive and procedural).

Though, I would recommend you have an understanding of the governing civil procedure rules (whether state or federal). Further, if your state or federal district has specific local rules, I'd become familiar with those as well. There is no harm in being someone who knows the governing procedural rules.

Legal research/writing (I think) is like riding a bike. You don't really forget, though, you may need to shake off some rust. Not to mention, if your firm has Westlaw or Lexis, you can work with reference attorneys to aid in your research. Legal writing is pretty simple when you break it down: Conclusion, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion.

Your firm likely hired you because they believed you had the underlying skills to become a good lawyer practicing in employment defense. Skills are transferable. Knowledge can be taught.

Finally, always be willing to listen more than you talk. If you listen well, you will grow as an attorney in this specific area. The partners became successful for a reason.


What's the best way to find local civil rules? County website?


If you're in federal court, the federal district will publish the local rules on its website. Google "[x] federal district + local rules."

State courts are a bit of a different beast. I know some state courts will publish local rules on the Internet. But other states have "general rules of practice." If you have a question about the governing state local rules, ask one of the partners or senior associates.

Sheldon44

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Re: Lattering into civil law and I don't know what I am doing

Postby Sheldon44 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:40 pm

Not sure if this is what you’re looking for, but some attorneys are willing to “take you under their wing”. I know Randy Collins, an attorney in California, does this for students coming out of law school for criminal defense. I don’t know how common the practice is. Nothing teaches civil law like hands-on experience at a firm willing to give you their time. The problem is, few firms are willing to do so, you may want to reach out to Collins and just find out if he knows anyone else who does this: https://www.mycaliforniadefenseattorney.com. You’ll probably work for free, or close to it.

sparty99

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Re: Lattering into civil law and I don't know what I am doing

Postby sparty99 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:06 pm

Anonymous User wrote:I am transferring into civil law, specifically employment defense, and I don't have any experience practicing civil law. I've done criminal law which consists of trial work, quick work in court and with prosecutors, copy paste motion to suppress evidence. I don't do legal research/writing, have any knowledge of employment defense, or regularly write. Essentially all the things we learn in law school that I hopefully still have in my mind.

How can I get up to speed to prepare myself for civil work? I want to find a secondary source or textbook on employment law to become familiar with the topic, but that may be overkill (and plus my lexis criminal account doesn't have access to it). Any suggestions?


As long as you are a good writer, you will be fine. Your firm will teach you the law. There are many employment law books that will probably be free. You will have past examples of discovery, motions, and reports if you do employment law. Every litigator started at square one.

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FullRamboLSGrad

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Re: Lattering into civil law and I don't know what I am doing

Postby FullRamboLSGrad » Fri Jul 28, 2017 8:21 am

Anonymous User wrote:
kykiske wrote:Assuming your firm is reasonable, the partners/senior associates will train and teach you the area of law (both substantive and procedural).

Though, I would recommend you have an understanding of the governing civil procedure rules (whether state or federal). Further, if your state or federal district has specific local rules, I'd become familiar with those as well. There is no harm in being someone who knows the governing procedural rules.

Legal research/writing (I think) is like riding a bike. You don't really forget, though, you may need to shake off some rust. Not to mention, if your firm has Westlaw or Lexis, you can work with reference attorneys to aid in your research. Legal writing is pretty simple when you break it down: Conclusion, Rule, Analysis, Conclusion.

Your firm likely hired you because they believed you had the underlying skills to become a good lawyer practicing in employment defense. Skills are transferable. Knowledge can be taught.

Finally, always be willing to listen more than you talk. If you listen well, you will grow as an attorney in this specific area. The partners became successful for a reason.


What's the best way to find local civil rules? County website?

Westlaw has them. In my state at least. I do literally everything on Westlaw. On the landing page click Statutes and Court Rules then go to your state and everything should be there.



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