Jump to content

Less reading n writing and more interacting!


idealest
 Share

Recommended Posts

idealest
  • Lawyer

Hello all

Wondering what people's suggestions are for a lawyer who wants to get into an area of practice that involves more interaction and action and less reading researching and drafting. Most lawyer roles involve a fair amount of research, reading and drafting, but there are roles that more dynamic in nature out there. 

The roles that come to mind are duty counsel or working in a legal clinic.

Any other roles that come to mind?

Has anyone worked either as duty counsel or in a legal clinic? How did that go for you?

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 weeks later...
Ruthless4Life
  • Lawyer

A lot of partners at big law firms spend a lot of their time doing PR and interacting with clients, potential clients, to bring in business with most of the legal work going to the junior lawyers. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Phaedrus
  • Lawyer

There's an issue with the framing of the question and the assumption that lawyers who are on their feet perform substantially less research and drafting. My answer's directed more toward applicants and students who are interested in on-your-feet practice.

I practice criminal and family law; areas that have you in court more days than not, and I'll tell you that the consequence of getting to talk all day is that my 'real day' starts when I get back from court at 4:30.

Cases have issues, and understanding issues requires research. It's great to rip through oral submissions, but to get there I've reviewed disclosure; filed a Charter notice (research and writing), conducted a voir dire (research, document review, and prep), and filed a brief (research and writing). Criminal and family law are always shifting below your feet and every senior lawyer will tell you it's impossible to stay on top of it all. I don't always prepare a formal research memo when I research a topic (though I, personally, prefer to for the sake of helping future-me), but I research and draft every day and more often than not it's really early in the morning or really late at night. Why? Because materials need to be filed and I won't have time tomorrow because I'm in court. I'd probably agree that I don't draft as many formal memos and documents as solicitors, but it's still an integral part of my job. 

Duty counsel could be the least research and drafting intensive niche, perhaps. Learn ss. 515-520, St-CloudAntic and Zora and you're most of the way there. But that doesn't mean it's an easy job by any stretch. I think Diplock talked about it elsewhere on this forum or its predecessor, and described the job as often crafting release plans from shoestrings and paperclips. It's trying to avoid the use of remand as a means further punish homelessness, and often working with upset people and all the ways their fear/anger can manifest itself. Oh, and you have no preparation time. And if you're not getting yelled at by your client, you find yourself getting grilled by judges and Crown. 

The challenges with being staff duty counsel are two-fold: (1) it's emotionally exhausting for the reasons above, and (2) you become pigeon-holed very quickly. You have to be alive to Charter and other evidentiary issues as DC, but that's a distinct requirement from needing to have an in-depth understanding of same. They get really good at issue spotting, but DC aren't filing Charter applications on a regular basis, aren't they drafting written briefs as often, and they're not running proper trials. If the time comes that they want to go/return to full criminal practice, DC need to get up to speed on the procedural and substantive parts of criminal law while fighting the urge to assume that their knowledge and skills fully transfer.

To be clear, I have a lot of respect and admiration for the work staff duty counsel do. Most I know have been doing it for years and the ones who stick with it are some of the most thick-skinned, compassionate people out there. It takes a certain kind of person to juggle the amount of work they do, take punishment from all sides, and still end their day in good cheer. 

EDIT: I was reflecting a bit on the "drafting" component of my practice. A major piece of criminal and family practice that gets overlooked/forgotten is the constant negotiation with opposing counsel. I may not file a formal brief for a case - and I'd say I probably don't for most - but I'm writing advocacy pieces back and forth on all. And, for the record, it's fucking hard. Why? Because piss off the Crown and they'll take it out on your client; phrase a sentence wrong and suddenly Mom's willing to drag you through a lengthy contested hearing; give one detail too much and you've sunk yourself. It's time consuming and requires an intimate knowledge of the law/issues and their application to your client's case; so, you guessed it, it's research, reference to legislation/caselaw, writing, and strong professional/social tact. It's just a lot of research and drafting that never sees the light of day. 

Edited by Phaedrus
  • Like 4
  • Thanks 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In my years of doing employment law, both in a firm and in-house, I've found it to offer a pretty nice mix or sitting back doing thinking/writing and being out there talking to people/advocating.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.


×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By accessing this website, you agree to abide by our Terms of Use. YOU EXPRESSLY ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT YOU WILL NOT CONSTRUE ANY POST ON THIS WEBSITE AS PROVIDING LEGAL ADVICE EVEN IF SUCH POST IS MADE BY A PERSON CLAIMING TO BE A LAWYER. We have placed cookies on your device to help make this website better. You can adjust your cookie settings, otherwise we'll assume you're okay to continue.