Day in the life of
Lawyer – Mrinalini “Melanie” Jayashankar
I am an attorney with 13 years of work experience and focus on the areas of Social Security Disability and Auto Accidents.
Should you become a Lawyer?
There are many different types of lawyers. However, in my opinion, is a common thread shared by all lawyers:
- Your job will require you to be extremely detail-oriented. Whether you are reviewing contracts, medical records, or depositions, your job will require that you pay attention to every single P and Q.
- People always say someone should be a lawyer because they like to argue. I disagree. I believe a propensity for arguing would make someone a worse lawyer, not a better one. Lawyers don’t need to “love to argue” but they should be able to calmly articulate their positions, whether it be orally or in writing.
- Lawyers need to be interested in helping other people. The law is a service industry, and your ultimate goal is to take on and protect the needs of your client. Lawyers need to sometimes be willing to leave their personal feelings aside and focus on advocating for their clients.
- Lawyers need to be able to multitask. Especially as a young attorney, you will likely be given assignments on multiple cases from multiple Partners. You will need to be able to work on multiple things at once, manage your time, and get the job done.
- Deadlines matter. Whether you choose litigation or transactional law, you will have various deadlines for filings and submissions. These are not suggestions.
One benefit is that you have the chance to go into a variety of different practice areas without any additional schooling after law school. You simply need to find a job working for someone who knows how to do what you want to do. Unlike medicine, there is no residency or fellowship after law school.
Another benefit is that you are in a unique position to really help people. Our country is structured in such a way that the last avenue to address a grievance or wrong is through the legal process. As an attorney, you can actually help facilitate this process. Each practice area will have its own pros and cons as well.
Attorneys at large firms may have a larger earning potential, but a longer partnership track, more work demands, and more stress. Attorneys at small firms may have a shorter partnership track and a more flexible work/life balance, but may not have as high earning potential.
One “con” for all attorneys is that the job market for attorneys seems to get more saturated every year. Additional law schools keep popping up and taking more students, and there aren’t enough quality jobs for all the graduates. To ensure a quality job, you will want to do your homework and make sure the firms you are interested in hire from the law school you choose or go to one of the top ranked law schools in the country. Future attorneys need to be prepared for an extremely competitive three years both in law school and during their job hunt.
represent clients in criminal and civil litigation and other legal proceedings, draw up legal documents, or manage or advise clients on legal transactions. May specialize in a single area or may practice broadly in many areas of law.