1. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society Contributor

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    Why do you wanna know, huh?

    Day-to-day life for an entry level defence lawyer in a firm

    Discussion in 'Research' started by DK3654, Apr 29, 2019.

    So Jade, one of my MCs, begins the story as a low-level defence lawyer for a fairly standard firm. The focus of this aspect of the plot is not on the legal work, but on Jade facing up to the truth that she knows deep down that this really isn't the place for her anymore. However, I don't want to avoid job specific details like the plague just because it isn't the focus, and at a certain point, I do need some understanding of the job no matter what.
    I've done a little reading about some legal basics, but what I really want to know is more about what it's actually like day-to-day so I can portray that accurately, and that is a little harder to find clear answers for.

    So, some questions for anyone with relevant experience (the series is set in the UK if that's relevant):
    How many cases would you expect to look at each day, each week?
    What responsibilities would you have for each case? Is this different than more experienced/senior positions?
    How much time is spent in court and speaking with clients vs reviewing info and files?
    How much choice would you have in what you work on and how you do it?
    What sort of cases could you expect to get? What sort of cases could you expect not to get?
    How long does the average case take? What types of cases take particularly long or are particularly short?
    Anything else you would like me to know? Common misconceptions?

    Any help would be appreciated
    Thanks for reading!
     
  2. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    You can probably find the answers to a lot of this by searching for "A Day in the Life" type interviews with defense attorneys. I'd also check career sites.

    Failing that, I'd find two or three defense attorneys and arrange some phone interviews. (I'd do Phoners because you have a lot of questions whose answers will likely spark more questions and require clarifications / followup questions.) But if you hit the right keywords, there are probably existing interviews that can help.
     
  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    To start with if its in the UK be aware that we have two breeds of lawyer here - you have solicitors who represent a client in dealings with the police, but who would then probably engage a barrister to represent the client in court in a criminal case. Solicitors also do civil cases etc and not court related work but the 'defence lawyer' per holywood is an American concept that doesn't translate well to the UK

    you can find a reasonable summary here https://www.slatergordon.co.uk/media-centre/blog/2016/09/difference-between-a-lawyer-a-solicitor-and-a-barrister-explained/

    Also be aware that that's England and Wales - Scotland is different again

    You do get firms of solicitors who specialise in criminal defence but they spend far more time in police stations than they do in court rooms
     
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  4. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society Contributor

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    Why do you wanna know, huh?
    Good point.
     
  5. DK3654

    DK3654 Almost a Productive Member of Society Contributor

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    Why do you wanna know, huh?
    I've found a little of that sort of thing. But you have sort through where there are all the technical details about how it all works whereas I'm mainly interested in just the basic routine and activities.

    I don't think I want to dive quite so far in as to arrange interviews myself. Not really at the level in more ways than one.
    Some existing interviews could definitely be helpful though.
     
  6. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin We may just go where no-one's been.... Contributor

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    Paging @Steerpike.
     
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  7. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Contributor

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    I worked for a large civil law firm when I first got out of law school. We didn’t do criminal defense and it was in the U.S., so I’m afraid I won’t be a great deal of help here. I appreciate the thought though :)
     
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  8. NobodySpecial

    NobodySpecial Contributor Contributor

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    You could take a look at the BLS to see if they have anything of use, if not hang out at a court house and ask some lawyers about their first jobs after law school.
     
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  9. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I second what @big soft moose said. If you're working around the law set in the UK (and as he pointed out, Scotland has its own separate set of laws and practices) there is no point asking lawyers in the USA about how they work. Your questions are excellent, but you'll need to ask the right people.

    Google is definitely your friend. There may also be books out there aimed specifically at writers, who want to deal in 'the law,' just as there are books dealing with medical matters for writers, police procedure for writers, etc. See what you can dig up. But be sure to look at the practices in the country you're actually planning to set the story.

    I live in the UK now (Scotland) but I spent the first 37 years of my life in the USA. Believe me, there is a LOT of difference!

    ......

    Here's an AmazonUK link to a book that looks promising ..and it was published only last year, so it's up to date: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secret-Barrister-Stories-Law-Broken/dp/1509841105/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=writing+about+the+law&qid=1556653590&s=gateway&sr=8-2#reader_B0753GBC5Z

    here's another good online link for the UK (not Scotland)
    https://www.thelawyerportal.com/free-guides/difference-between-solicitor-and-barrister/
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2019

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