You’ve probably heard of lawyers, and you probably have some idea of what they do, but are you really sure? Being a lawyer isn’t just helping people go to court and write up legal contracts, though those are both important parts of being a lawyer. Here are some of the other things that lawyers do that you might not have known about.
As an attorney, you may get some cases assigned to you by your boss. These cases are not just more work; they’re incredibly important. An inexperienced lawyer can make critical mistakes that jeopardize these cases, so it’s crucial to stay on top of them and review them thoroughly before making any significant moves.
You must also remember that as you move up in your legal career, different kinds of lawyers will expect different things from you.
Lawyers are experts in legal analysis and interpretation. When you start practicing, your job will be to find relevant information on cases that have been decided by judges across America (these are called case law).
Meet with clients
When you meet with clients, it’s usually during regular business hours, Monday through Friday. You may need to schedule weekend meetings in certain cases; for example, if your client has to appear in court on a particular day.
In some instances, you may travel to visit your client. For example, if they’re incarcerated or live far away from your office.
Assist in jury selection
One of a lawyer’s main responsibilities is to assist in jury selection. This is especially true for lawyers who work for defense firms and whose role it is to help their clients prove their innocence. Because it can be difficult for anyone to say that they don’t hold prejudices, lawyers are trained on how to screen out potential jurors who might bias their client’s case.
Prepare cases for trial
There’s no one who knows more about your case than you do. So make sure that you prepare for trial, and don’t try to defer preparation to your lawyer. You can still speak with him or her when necessary, but it’s important to remember that your lawyer is there to represent your interests—not guide you in all matters of litigation.
Testify at trial
In courtrooms all over America, it’s testimony from experts—and not evidence—that determines outcomes. When you need to argue in front of twelve jurors and persuade them to reach your conclusion, you will want to hire an expert.
In other words, if you want a jury to think outside the box for your case, get someone who knows how to think outside the box (i.e., someone with credentials).
Serve on legal teams
As an attorney, you may also be required to work on legal teams. For example, it is not uncommon for attorneys to have to collaborate with public defenders in order to represent their clients successfully.
You may even be asked by your company’s leadership team or partner to serve as lead counsel in some cases. Regardless of what type of team you are asked to join, your job will remain relatively similar: Represent your client and their best interests.