Need advice! Newly hired attorney's assistant.

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Liberal Theory
Posts: 24
Joined: Mon Apr 24, 2017 1:31 pm

Need advice! Newly hired attorney's assistant.

Postby Liberal Theory » Sat Oct 28, 2017 9:22 am

Any guidance from paralegals or attorneys would be much appreciated.

I start a new job this week working to help a busy attorney in my area. Apparently he is an "A-list" court-appointed lawyer, on top of running his small firm and keeping up with his other criminal/family/probate/etc clients on retainer. He doesn't want any of his clients to fall through the cracks though, regardless of how fucked their cases may be. So I have been given the honor to help him track the clients he feels he is slipping through the cracks and to manage customer service relations with them, keep in touch with them and make sure they are doing what they need to do, and to analyze all the information (evidence, discovery, etc) on their case and to digest it and brief him on their status and to do legal research relevant to each case to give them the best possible defence.

This is my dream undergrad job and I finally have it; I start in a few days and don't want to underwhelm him or his associates and paralegals or hold them back training me.

I've briefed 100s of Supreme Court cases (and some circuit course cases) and known the Constitution like the back of my hand, especially the 1st, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th amendments. Criminal law has always been my passion and its been my consuming goal since I was a teenager.

So I don't want to fuck this up.

I know how to use lexis nexis and read most court documents and analyze video/ traditional discovery. I know precedent is a big deal and I know how to read the state penal statutes. I also have lots of experience interning for criminal attorneys, but I was mostly just an office cleaner/ folder organizer/ runner/ printer monkey/ court observer. The most I have ever been involved with a client is taking notes on their consultations and calling and emailing them and combing their discovery.

What I don't know how to do is draft depositions, I have a fuzzy idea about what probate is, and how to help my new boss out ASAP. There is a whole lot I don't know about the law. I want to work like a mule for this job, its the best job offer I've had in my short life. But what else am I missing in my skill set?

Sorry for the lengthy post. ALL help is appreciated.
Last edited by Liberal Theory on Sat Oct 28, 2017 4:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.

lucretius_
Posts: 76
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2017 5:58 pm

Re: Need advice! Newly hired attorney's assistant.

Postby lucretius_ » Sat Oct 28, 2017 11:42 am

I know it's an internet post, but if this is a sample of your writing then go look at some style guides ASAP. Lawyers (generally) like concise, highly structured prose. You're going to have to learn how to write lean. If this lawyer is as busy as he seems, he does not have the time to sift through the fluff to find your meaning. Edit your work. It will take time, but it will be more valuable.

Other things:

- Hit deadlines. The worst thing you could do is not produce work on time and your boss becomes unprepared and loses a client.
- Ask questions. You should not ask a new question every five minutes, but if you do not understand an assignment or something you are reading, ask others.
- Get to know the other people in your office and be courteous and kind. There's nothing worse than a young college grad coming into an office and being dismissive and entitled.

I worked at a firm and they hired a string of temps to do some pretty basic discovery work. None of these college educated temps stuck around because they could not do at least one of those things. Also, don't stress. If you love this work and are adaptable, you'll do fine. Go kill it.


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