Day in the life of
Lawyer – Sonja Aoun
I have been a lawyer in a variety of firm settings for twenty years. I have worked for small firms, have been in two partnerships (two-person firms), a solo practice, and now a mid-size firm. I do both transactional work and litigation for family law and estate planning clients. I practice in settings such as mediation, the courtroom, and negotiations.
My days are divided between responding to potential new client inquiries, meeting with potential new clients, assigning and reviewing work done by legal assistants, paralegals, and associate (“junior”) attorneys, writing posts or preparing videos for marketing, speaking at seminars, setting up networking meetings and meeting with potential referral sources, preparing for court, meeting with clients, reviewing and responding to emails and messages from clients, investigating facts and witnesses, researching case law, reviewing new cases and laws, educating myself/attending continuing legal education classes, mentoring other attorneys, and attending court.
I am constantly juggling tasks, monitoring deadlines, and tracking down details. I spend time strategizing cases and preparing my clients by talking to them about their goals, helping them manage their expectations, and preparing them to testify in court. I also negotiate with other attorneys and go to mediation sessions with clients.
Pros: I meet new people all the time. I get to hear interesting stories. The law changes often enough that there always new challenges. I enjoy applying the law to my client’s lives – it’s an intellectual puzzle. I give people hope, peace, a sense of calm, and ease their fears. I get to make a real difference in the lives of my clients and their families, and help them plan and achieve their goals. The attorneys I have worked with – both inside the office and on opposite sides of a case – are generally smart, skilled people, and I learn a lot from them on nearly every case.
Cons: My clients are usually highly stressed, and can be needy and demanding. The emotional toll of the work is high. There is little downtime. Clients tend not to respect boundaries and assume you will be available to them 24/7. Work is deadline-driven and there is little to no margin for error. The consequences of trial work can be very high stakes – people losing custody of their children, or going to jail. Many wish to use their attorney as a counselor or vent their anger and frustrations. Clients don’t always have the funds to pay, and it’s hard to turn them down.
All that said, I can’t imagine another career that would be as rewarding, both in terms of the intellectual challenge and the satisfaction that comes from helping people.
Sonja N. Aoun is a family law and estate planning attorney for Briglia Hundley, P.C.
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.