What Does My Lawyer Do All Day?
Do you ever wonder what your lawyer is doing when they are not working with you on your civil case, or even what they are doing on your case in between your communications with them? Here are some of the things that lawyers do on a regular basis in the context of a civil litigation practice.
As you probably remember from your earliest days of contacting your attorney about your own case, lawyers take telephone calls from people who have had something happen to them and are wondering if they have a case. The situation could be anything from a car wreck, to a bad surgery outcome, to the death of a loved one after a stay in a nursing home, or a company harassing about a purported debt, or feeling like an oil or gas oil company is not acting according to the terms of a lease. Regardless of the circumstances, the lawyer will listen to the timeline and details of the situation, ask questions to get more information, and evaluation each situation individually to determine whether there are potential civil claims to investigate. These calls are an important first step in any case, and lawyers dedicate the necessary time to thoroughly evaluate claims through these calls and set up meetings.
Meetings are also a consistent part of a lawyer’s daily and weekly schedule. Meetings with clients, new or current, and meetings with other attorneys within the firm to discuss cases and strategies are two of the most common meetings an attorney will have on a regular basis. Many lawyers are also involved in various community, charitable, and professional organizations, and will attend meetings of those groups as well.
As cases are filed and progress through litigation, lawyers also attend inspections, depositions, hearings, and mediations. Inspections usually take place early on in a case, most commonly in cases involving an injury from an unsafe condition on a premises or a motor vehicle or trucking collision case. Depositions are a part of discovery, and will require your lawyer to either ask questions of the defendant, witnesses, experts, or others who may have information that could be important to your case, or will require your lawyer to listen to questions that are asked of you or the experts that you have hired to help support your case. Depositions can take up to an entire day, or even more, sometimes, and require preparation time on the part of the lawyer as well. Hearings take place before the court, and address various issues and disputes that arise between the parties in the case. Your lawyer will appear, along with lawyers who represent the other parties in the case, and each lawyer will generally have the chance to explain to the judge their position, and why the law and facts of the case support their request to the court. Many hearings during the course of litigation involve discovery disputes and what information each side is entitled to receive, but hearings can involve any number of legal topics and issues. Mediation is an event that usually occurs closer to the end of the discovery period, but before trial, and offers the parties the opportunity to get together with each other and have a neutral party, the mediator, help facilitate negotiations to try and resolve the case through settlement, rather than going to trial.
Attorneys also spend a good bit of time reviewing correspondence, discovery materials and evidence that is produced, transcripts from depositions and hearings, reports from experts, and motions and briefs that are filed with the court. They also do research into legal and other issues that arise in their cases, and spend time writing motions and briefs that ask the court to direct certain events in the case in their client’s favor and explain why the law supports that request.
Finally, your lawyer may be involved in a trial. Although many cases resolve through settlement, rather than at trial, lawyers must always be prepared for a case to go to trial. When a trial is approaching, this will be a very time consuming period for your lawyer, and they will likely spend many hours reviewing all of the documents, testimony, evidence, legal arguments and cases, and other materials in the case. They will practice their arguments and questioning, and will have discussions with other attorneys about the best way to approach difficult issues or challenge tough evidence. They will spend time preparing witnesses to give testimony and will work with their staff members to make sure that all visual evidence and documents are properly marked and ready to be shown at the trial.
These are some of the major tasks that your attorney works on consistently, both in your cases and the others that they have, but many other things may arise in an attorney’s day as well. If you are ever curious about what your attorney has been doing to work on your case, you should ask them. It will give you an opportunity to learn more about your attorney, your case, and the process of civil litigation, and may give you a better understanding of what your lawyer may be doing if you ever call and are told they are unavailable at the moment.
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Today's blog: Do you ever wonder what your lawyer is doing when they are not working with you on your civil case, or even what they are doing on your case in between your communications with them? Today's blog includes some of the things that lawyers do on a regular basis in the context of a civil litigation practice.