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An Average Day In A Litigation Career- What To Expect

Introduction

“Every hearing teaches something new; every case moulds a better advocate. In the legal dance, advocacy is my rhythm, and justice is my song.” Sonali Chopra, Partner at Arimus Law.

Lawyers are known for their exceptional work ethic. They work much longer hours than those in other professions. In reality, what we see on TV of advocates sitting, speaking, and having lunch with clients is unrealistic. Advocates work 50 to 60 hours a week on average.

A lawyer’s activities and duties vary depending on their specialisation or area of practice. This means that an advocate who specialises in labour law or personal injury will spend more time in administrative hearings or courtrooms than those who do real estate or business law.

A Typical Day for a Litigation Lawyer

Morning Preparation

Many advocates have an exceptionally early start to their job since they are always the first to arrive at the workplace in the morning. The main reason for this is because they feel more productive when the office is not officially open for the day. This means there are no phone calls, client appointments, or court appearances, allowing them to focus on the other tasks on their to-do list.

Case Review: A typical day in the life of a litigation lawyer starts with an examination of the day’s cases or ongoing cases. This includes evaluating upcoming dates or court appearances, any necessary client contact, and meeting deadlines. Lawyers must also prepare several documents related to their current cases, such as motions, memorandums, pleadings, and other paperwork. This takes time, and mornings are ideal for these tasks since they are quiet enough and their minds are fresh and alert.

After reviewing a case, legal research is conducted to examine pertinent case law, laws, and regulations for court hearings, drafting pleadings, or legal arguments. The advocates going to court thereafter will use this time to research their cases and prepare for the hearing. They might also try to do any other tasks that they will be unable to complete while out of the office for the following several hours.

Client Meetings: If the lawyer is in the office, they are likely to be on the phone or attending meetings. Advocates communicate with clients, update them on their cases, and discuss cases with colleagues. Depending on their area of expertise, they may also contact other individuals who are important to their cases. Typically, litigation lawyers schedule morning meetings with clients to review case developments, discuss strategy, and provide legal advice on potential next steps.

Court Appearances

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During court appearances and hearings, litigation lawyers work on trial evidence, witness lists, and courtroom presentations. This is done in preparation for upcoming trials or hearings. They might even be outside of the workplace doing research for their cases. Litigation lawyers work around the clock to submit their claims before the judge or prepare for the next day in court when cases go to trial. Litigators engage with experts and clients to develop trial topics while evaluating a case’s strengths and weaknesses and develop appealing arguments. They also prepare their clients and witnesses to testify.

They appear in court to represent their clients at hearings, motions, and trials where they offer arguments, question witnesses, and cross-examine opposing counsel. Lawyers that concentrate in litigation may engage in settlement negotiations or mediation sessions with opposing parties in order to examine alternative methods of conflict resolution and get beneficial outcomes for their clients.

Document drafting and review

After court, lawyers often retire to their chamber to prepare for the following day’s items. Legal filings, motions, and briefs are drafted by a litigation lawyer and presented to the court the next day. These documents include legal arguments and supporting evidence.

They later turn to the discovery process, which involves exchanging information and evidence with opposing parties via processes including interrogatories, requests for production, and depositions. This also contains letters, emails, and settlement ideas that need to be communicated for ongoing cases.

Client Representation and Advocacy

After court, clients often come and seek legal counsel on numerous topics.

Client consultations: This time of day is normally allocated for new clients to bring in their cases, and the advocate attempts to address them and offer the next course of action to take.

Strategic planning involves preparing legal arguments that align with client objectives, taking into account case law, facts, and procedural constraints. This is done for fresh situations brought in by clients that need the advocate’s quick and in-depth attention.

Litigation lawyers use thorough research and case files to effectively advocate for their client’s rights and interests, demonstrating honesty and professionalism both within and outside the courtroom.

Administrative work and follow-up: After client meetings, lawyers prepare for the next day. Litigation lawyers manage administrative tasks related to their cases, including scheduling court appearances, organising paperwork, and monitoring deadlines.

Legal Updates: They stay up-to-date on legal developments by attending seminars, reading journals, and participating in professional organisations.

Suggestions

For each day in the life of a litigation lawyer, here are certain suggestions and ideas to keep in mind.

  1. Make an effort with your list of dates and summary. It might be the only thing a Judge reads before hearing your case.
  2. Pleadings may make or break a case. Draft concisely; there is no need for unnecessary verbosity.
  3. Master the brief. Do not just read it; think about it and dream about it. Create a brief overview.
  4. “By failing to prepare, you set yourself up for failure”.

 

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Conclusion

A day in the life of a litigation lawyer is dynamic, challenging, and rewarding. Litigation lawyers play an important role in pursuing justice and resolving legal issues, from courtroom debate and legal study to client representation and strategic planning. Their enthusiasm, perseverance, and dedication to their customers’ interests make them valuable members of the legal profession.

References

  1. David J. Bilinsky, Proving the Mists – A Day in the Life of a PIMed Lawyer, 25 LAW PRAC. MGMT. 24 (1999). 
  2. P. O. Lapie, The Day of an Advocate at the Paris Courts, 41 JURID. REV. 40 (1929). 
  3. Lynne Marie Kohm, The Comprehensive Life Advocate, 17 CHRISTIAN LAW. 3 (2021). 
  4. JP van Niekerk, The Life and Times of Cape Advocate Dirk Gysbert Reitz: A Biographical Note, 22 FUNDAMINA 310 (2016). 

 

Ghostline Legal is India’s leading, BCI-compliant, full-service tech and content firm catering exclusively to advocates and litigation chambers.

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