A Day in the Life of a Young Lawyer

6:00am: Alarm goes off. “Hey hon. Did you bleach my white shirts? I can’t wear them if they have crud on the collar and the sleeves.” My wife hasn’t seen me in days.
6:15am: Review what I need to do for my hearing today. Look over all the documents, where we’re at with the case, and what I’m going to ask the judge for. I was up late last night doing the same thing, but I need to make sure I’m prepared. God it was a late night. But preparation is key to any court hearing. I need coffee.
7:00am: Shower. Β Brush teeth. Hope I have clean shirts and a pressed suit in the wardrobe. Gotta be in court by 8:45am. No time for breakfast or a cup of joe. Don’t want to be late for the judge.
7:45am: Hop on the subway. Try not to touch gross stuff. Continue to prepare for the hearing by reviewing our documents. I think I have a good argument.
8:00am: Get coffee from the coffee shop. Continue reviewing what I need to do for the hearing. Can I take coffee into Judge Smith’s courtroom? Should I be spending my money on coffee? With only $7.22 in my personal account, probably not. I can’t afford to buy breakfast. Wish I would have had breakfast and coffee at home. I’m starving.

8:30am: Show up to court. According to the notice, I am scheduled to come in today at 8:45am. So I’m here. So are all the other lawyers. The court clerk comes in at 9:00am. I ask him what’s going on…

“This isn’t an early court. Judge Smith usually takes the bench around 10:00am.”
“So why does the notice say 8:45am?”
“Because it does.” Alright, good enough explanation.
Do I get internet access in this courtroom? God I hope so. I am buried in emails right now. I continue to review my papers.

10:20am: Judge Smith finally takes the bench. She sips her coffee. Thankfully, all my coffee has been drank. I set the cup to the side.
11:45am: Judge finally calls my case. She says: “I didn’t get a chance to look at your papers. Can we continue this for a month?” I smile and nod. “Of course, Your Honor.” Funny, every time I ask for more time to address something it’s a big deal. As I’m walking out the door: “Mr. Rushie, I’m pretty sure you’re aware coffee is NOT allowed in my courtroom. Don’t bring that in here again. Very unprofessional of you. Professionalism is very important in this field, you know.” I reply: “Sorry, Your Honor. It won’t happen again.”Β I keep my mouth shut.
12:00pm: I take the subway back to my office. Try not to touch more gross stuff.

12:45pm: Back at the office. I email my client and tell him what happened at court today. “Dear Joe Client: Today I showed up to court but the judge didn’t get a chance to look at our papers. She needs more time to review our papers before making a decision. We’ll need to come back another time.”
1:20pm: [DING] I get an email from Joe Client, angry about the judge. Yes, I know it’s unfair. Yes, I know it sucks. Yes, you’re getting billed for my time. I’m sorry. Don’t worry, my morning was less than pleasant, too…
1:30pm: I still haven’t eaten today. God, I’m starving. “Hey Leo, I’m going to get some food”,Β [RING] [RING], I’ll just take this call real quick. It’s Joe Client from this morning. He is still angry that the judge didn’t decide our matter. Joe wants to complain about the judicial system and lawyers in general. We’re in agreement that it sucks and it’s totally unfair. I don’t know why the judge didn’t have chance to review our papers, which were submitted awhile ago. The conversation lasts awhile, despite my best efforts. Joe wants me to cut his bill. I’ll have to talk to my partner, Leo.
2:45pm: Okay, I shouldn’t have taken that call. God I’m starving. I’m just going to respond to an email and then grab lunch… but the Picard matter is due before midnight.
3:00pm: I call the client up. “I need you to come to my office so we can finalize that document. When can you come to my office?” He tells me: “I’ll be off work around 6:30pm. I can head in after that.”
3:05pm: The phone starts ringing. It’s the court clerk. He wants to reschedule our hearing. Gimme a sec, let me look at my calendar…
3:15pm: Instant message from Leo: “Did you get a chance to take a look at the Jones matter? I put it on your chair.” I don’t respond.
3:30pm: A client stops by unexpectedly with some questions. I take down their questions and schedule a formal appointment.

4:00pm: “Hey hun, it’s me. I’ll be home for dinner around 5:30pm, but then I have to head back to the office.” Might as well wait until dinner to eat at this point.
5:30pm: Dinner / lunch time. I’m starved. My wife asks: “Jordan, why are you eating so quickly?” I tell her: “Sorry, have some stuff to do. Gotta be back to the office shortly. Plus I’m starved.”
5:45pm: Back at the office. Stuff to do.
6:00pm: Email from Leo. “Jordan, I put the Jones file on your chair but I haven’t heard from you. I sent you an instant message earlier. We need to move this file along. What’s going on with it?”Β I reply: “I’ll get to it tomorrow. Gotta submit some stuff that’s due Β before midnight. Sorry.”
6:55pm: My client finally shows up. We spend a few hours going over our the papers to make sure they’re correct.
11:30pm: New client’s documents reviewed, papers prepared.
11:59pm: “Dear Opposing Counsel: Attached please find my client’s response in the above matter.” Thank God for electronic filing.
12:00am: A new day. I check my calendar. Court is scheduled for 8:45am tomorrow. Great. I begin to prepare…

8 Responses to A Day in the Life of a Young Lawyer

  1. A nice and revealing peek into a young lawyers day! This is good, makes clients and others understand their lawyers more. The wife is truly understanding!

  2. A young lawyer has it rough and depending on what they are practicing it can be worse than what is described in this post. The only advice if there is one is to keep pushing and dream of a better tomorrow. Also as a solo practicing attorney, legal funding may be a benefit to you.

  3. […] that slice accurately. Instead, I think students and teachers ought to read Jordan Rushie’s A Day in the Life of a Young Lawyer, which is a much more accurate view of courtroom practice, and modify the ABA lesson plans […]

  4. […] Part two in a potentially continuing series giving some insight into the life of a young, small firm lawyer. Today, we get some insight into Leo’s day.Β Click here for part one. […]

  5. AB says:

    I’ve been reading a few of these “typical day as a lawyer” stories online as I’m weighing up a career change. I’m worried about leaving one stressful career and diving head first into another high stress profession. But so far all the stories mimick this. Complaining about things like coffee and food and reading emails etc. I’ve had a crazy person try and throw their own feces at me, a colleague of mine had her wrist broken by a patient, I once looked after a drug addict who tried to decapitate his own head with a serrated knife (he got about half way through). Your job’s a walk in the park. Sit back down.
    Oh, and bring your own coffee and packed lunch and bleach your own bloody shirt you’re not a child.

  6. Anonymous says:


  7. […] that slice accurately. Instead, I think students and teachers ought to read Jordan Rushie’s A Day in the Life of a Young Lawyer, which is a much more accurate view of courtroom practice, and modify the ABA lesson plans […]

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