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Do you have to do lots of paperwork and extra time as a lawyer?
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Do you have to do lots of paperwork and extra time as a lawyer?

I'm 14 and was considering going into law and wondered if you have do lots of work, writing and reading, roughly how many hours a week and do lawyers have spare time? What job is there that spends more time in the court room?

Why are you so concerned about free time? You're supposed to love the law and enjoy your career if you decide to be a lawyer. There are some legal careers which don't force you to work round the clock, such as the legal Civil Service, or local government. However, if you are considering entering private practice, then you must be prepared to put in long hours in order to reap rich rewards later on, taking paper work home with you and possibly taking phone calls at dead of night. It's the people who are prepared to work hard and sacrifice what would otherwise be their free time in the earlier stages of their career who are then able to relax somewhat in later life and take up golf. Maybe you should try to get some work experience with a local firm, with a legal department of your local council or in a local court to have a chance to talk to lawyers and see what kind of legal career might suit you. Perhaps this link will give you a few ideas. http://www.lawcareers.net/Solicitors/AlternativeCareers/MagistratesCourtServices.aspx

1. Most solicitors work at least ordinary working hours, 9-5, 5 days a week. On top of that, the majority will, at some time stay late or come in early, or skip lunch to do extra work. I used to work with a litigator who would often work until 8. In the "Magic Circle" - the big commercial firms in London, like Slaughter & May or Freshfields, it is routine to work late into the night. Some firms even have sleeping accomodation in their offices. A trainee once explained that the firm she worked for looked after it's staff well: "if you have to work until midnight - they'll pay for your taxi home!", another said she had to think of excuses or make plans for each weekend to avoid being called in to work. 2. Barristers are, stereotypically, court advocates, and they do spend more of their time in court, on average, than solicitors. However spent in preparation should always exceed time spend in court on any particular case. Barrister are in a special position because they are by tradition self-employed sole practioners - they decide what hours they work, however, as one junior consel commented: "It's not holiday whenever you want. It's unpaid leave." 3. Even less exalted employees dealing with the law, such as paralegals and legal executives will put in additional time, whether it is actually staying for three hours to try to catch up in a busy week or privately studying the law or the background facts which they deal with at work. 4. Despite all this, lawyers do in fact have spare time. Take JZD for example. He's a barrister, and still has time to answer questions on YA. If people don't have spare time or are constantly under pressure it will end up effecting their health and productivity.

Kit Fang
To begin with, yes, you have to do a lot of extra work, especially as you work your way up, working for other lawyers; you would be expected to do a lot of research for company/chambers you work for until you are completely qualified/become a senior lawyer and have your own underlings to do all the work for you. Of course it still involves a lot of paperwork, just less than to start with. Some of my friends from university finished their law degree last year and have just started out working in the business, and they spend most of their time working. Of course the people they work for have more free time, as they delegate work down. How many hours will of course depend on the type of law, the case, your role in it, and so on. The lawyers I know work in corporate law, and work for large businesses, banks etc. and they are in the office Monday to Saturday, 8-6 at least, plus often work until 10 at night most nights, and on Sundays. The solicitors my family employs are expected to be avaliable (or at least, someone is expected to answer the phone, even if it's not the main guys) pretty much all the time. But of course, again it depends on what type of law you want to do, whether you want to work independently, for a large chamber, for the government, business etc. and whether you're just starting out or have been there for years.

Lawyers have very busy careers and the job requires your best always to represent whomever your client or clients are, There is a standard amount of paperwork and overtime involved as with any public serving job. I think if this is what you want to pursue as a career then go for it!!

That depends on the kind of law. If you work for a big firm, you will have no life for very many years. My daughter was involved in a major civil rights case as a plaintiff. She had ten attorneys, but the two main ones were at the office at all hours. 10 on Friday night, they were there. 2 Sunday afternoon, they were there. You can expect to work 80 hours or more per week. If you go into a small firm or a solo practice, then you might have more reasonable hours. Or if you work for the government, it will be more reasonable. You won't make as much money, but it's worth it. Yes, you do a ton of reading and writing. Reading cases, briefs, contracts, legal documents. And a lot of writing as well, although a lot of the writing is done by the paralegals, but you have to review it. Very little is actually done in the courtroom, I mean timewise. You might want to go to court and watch trials this summer to see what they are really like. If you like the reading and writing, but not the long hours, then consider being a paralegal. The pay is decent and you usually work normal hours. In a lot of states, there is a lot of competition for jobs. THere's over 200,000 members of the California Bar Association for example. In some states, that isn't a problem. Edit: You can spend a fair amount of time in the courtroom if you are a prosecuting or defense attorney, but those are very stressful. Again, go watch trials, it's nothing like on TV. You still have to read and write a lot. If you just like being there, you can be a court reporter or a bailiff. I had a solo practice and didn't work long hours. I currently work for a firm with four attorneys and none of them work full time, but they still do well. (Personal injury and medical malpractice.)

It depends a lot on the individual practice. Most attorneys that make large incomes put in long hours.

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