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Day in the Life of a Corporate Lawyer [The HONEST TRUTH]

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I always envisioned fast-paced city lifecourtrooms magnificent apartmentsexpensive dinners with high-poweredfriends at least that’s what HarveySpecter told me it would be like ofcourse there would be money but theywould also be caffeine-fueled latenights from clash offices overlookingLondon there would be dirt on somepower-hungry banker selling secrets toforeign Prince’s private jets exhaustingbeing a lawyer would be awesome but whatis it really like are the horror storiesof all-nighters and Sunday mornings thenpouring over contractual fine print andpartners who expect more than is humanlypossible actually true what is it reallylike to be a corporate lawyer there isthe thingmaybe

you’ve looked online at shinywebsites or even spoken to an actuallawyer in the hope of finding out whatthefunnily enough just as high-end fashionlabels don’t fill their home pages withpictures of complex supply chains andChinese factories so two law firmspresent the sexiest side ofinternational offices and partnersworking on huge deals and innovativefields your firms have to sellthemselves to clients and to graduatesjust like fashion labels do that’s notto say that they don’t work on hugelyexciting projects just to the realitiesof painstaking due diligenceproofreading and research aren’t whatmost people aspire to when they dreambecoming a lawyer

I felt frustrated thateven after to vacation schemes ofClifford Chance and slopes in May Ihadn’t really got answers to bigquestions around lifestyle ethics andjob satisfaction while the JV schemesare helpful they are again to degree asale of exercise when you present yourbest most polite self in the pursuit ofa job and firm sell themselves to you inthe hope that you’ll want to work forthem I emailed out who’s become somewhatof a mentor to mehe’s a litigation associate so that’sone rung up from a trainee I give achance where I’ll be working this timenext year he agreed to speak candidly oras candidly as realistic as possibleabout what it’s actually like to work atone of the world’s top law firms[Music]so what degree do you feel like HarveySpecter well we’ve both obviously gotexcellent hair hmm you know job jobnumber onemaybe maybe I think my jobs probably notas

 

dramatic is it on a day-to-day basiswe do have moments of drama we dodefinitely have moments of drama butit’s probably not quite as frequent asonce an X or thing yeah I mean thebasics are essentially the same Juliusyou know we’re presented with businesscritical situations and where ourclients and the business critical adviceproblems are actually in practice a lottrickier I think to result of you knoweverything seems to fall out a place forthose guys whereas for usactually often you know that there isn’treally a right answer and it’s aboutgetting your heads together and workingout what what’s the best situation goingforward we perhaps

 

don’t have the samedegree of resolution that they do aswell on on a weekly basis can you givean example of the sort of thing that ifI’m the CEO of a company I might come toyou with saying I need you to solve thisfor me I fall into the category ofdisputes lawyers who tend to help ifsomething’s got a bit wrongyousomething that we do lots of here is iswhen companies buy each other basicallyand and you know I might be buying acompany from you and I think it is wortha certain amount and it’s you know forlots of different reasons yeah and itmight be because you told me it’s wortha certain amount for lots of differentreasons and then perhaps when I boughtit actually it turns out not quite to bewhatever I guess yeah and I might thenwant to think about what I can do aboutthat now I might want to get my moneyback how I might want to be able toimprove the company perhaps

 

yeah andreally it’s about kind of working outwhat I can do in that situation thatthat’s the type of situation that mightend up in in perhaps you know in a courtroom or something like that in theinvestigation space there might beallegations that you know your employeeshave done something wrong one of theiremployees has done something wrong andyou know that could be anything from Patbribery and corruption and right throughto you know an employment dispute maybethere’s been an allegation of bullyingor harassment or something like thatyeah and and we might be brought

 

in totry and help work out what’s actuallyhappened and whether it presents anylegal risks and I suppose what stepsshould be taken internally to managethose risks and made sure it doesn’thappen againI’ll gets up at around 7:00 and themorning I spend with him he hopped on aclient call from home at 8:00 for 45minutes he left home by 9:00 replied toa couple of emails and read some news onthe way in and arrived at the office ataround 9:30[Music]a couple of hours a day are dedicated toemails as a client focused business lawfirms clients expect pretty quickresponses he spends a couple of hoursmost days doing witness or expertinterviews all calling clients he thenhas another few hours conferring withpartners on the cases

 

he’s working onfamiliarizing himself with documents anddrafting more formal submissions this isspread around lunch which he tries tohave away from his desk if at allpossible if you have to even average areally kind of average of when you gohome yes I try not to stay in the officeconstantly which is probably a bitunusual to be honest that probably is abit earlier than most easily and I’d sayprobably averages seven seven thirtyhour climbs upit is 658 where we go I’m going toWaterloo for a beer I don’t know aboutyou that’s not to say that wenecessarily finished working at 6:30that’s more and a timeframe that I kindof set for myself I usually go off anddo a gym class or something or I mightyou know go and have dinner with friendsor something like that yeah and thenI’ll try and come back to work later

 

ifI have to partly just because it helpsme to focus the mind about what actuallyneeds to be done and so I don’t justkind of stick around doing stuff and youknow filling time in the eveningsbecause there’s not really any point indoing that law can’t be it’s a hardcareer it’s difficult career it’sdemanding and there’s often a lot ofwork to do and at times it can be reallybusy but I think people are broadlyspeaking encouraged to enjoy the youknow the quieter times and have otherinterests and follow them and pursuethem you know aggressively my place forquite a lot with our mates we have acompetitive netball team which love awayall of it which we play on Mondayevenings me and my uni mates we get toocompetitive and go down and play netballonce we find you can do that everyMonday pretty much yeah I think I’ve hadto visit once maybe I would have thoughtthat having to miss something like thatwould have but more regularly than thatso that’s yeah no no I don’t think aboutyou know it gets the easier the moresenior you get to be honest yeah youknow if youif you’re able to kind of manage yourworkload a bit better

 

yeah I go to thetheater a lot I’ve very rarely have tocancel this tickets or anything likethat and you know I go out for dinner alot with friends and stuff like thatduring the week so you know it’s yeahI’d say that I I maintain a prettyhealthy work-life balance and to behonest I think lawyers get a bit of abad rep sometimes I look at my friendswho were you know teachers or civilservants and actually some of themworked really really hardyeah probably harder than I do to behonest monix yeah yeah I mean especiallythe teachers I think they they sometimesya know they put they put in a real songa minute I think for most of my friendswho work in kind of professional careersand it’s pretty it’s pretty comparableto be honest and write them all yeahlike jobs of demanding you and I feellike this should be how would you answersomeone who said to you that you’rehelping bad guysand in essence kind of the opposite ofRobin Hood right like yeah are helpingbig corporations I know that you workedat Liberty on two common and you werealso just as a while before you came yesso you’ve probably had seen

 

both sidesof the argument in terms of I guess whatwould be called the ethical power ofversus yoke kind of corporate firm yeahhow would you kind of way that happenand how do you see that it’s a trickyone I think you know life isn’t thatblack-and-white to be honest yeah andyou know I think I I probably came intothis job as you said and I worked atorganizations in the past which didsomething quite different and I probablycame into the job maybe holding thoseviews to a point as well you know andone of the big questions that I had wasis this really you know the type of workthat I want to do the types of client Iwant to be working for what we do herewe do I mean we do work for bigcompanies we work for all sorts ofdifferent clients and we’re really kindof helping them with with problems butI’m not sure that you know lifenecessarily lives in kind of theirethical or they’re not ethical word yeahwell to be honest we help people withreal problems

 

try and resolve them ifthat makes sense and you know at the endof the day clients need lawyers you knowit’s it’s and I don’t I don’t think thatany of the work that I do on a kind ofdaily basis really isand quite often it’s about actuallyfinding out you know what what bigcompanies should be doing if that makessense and I don’t think big companiesabout companies that’s not that’s theway the world worksand certainly it’s not the way that thefirm works here and actually one of thethings that I’ve found is that sincecoming here I’ve been able to do a lotmore actually in some senses in terms ofthe pro bono work that I doyeah and simply because of the support Ihave and and the ability of the peoplearound me to kind of get things done ifthat makes sense so we’ve worked on someamazing pro bono projects which haveactually you know instigated realmeaningful change and you know I’m notsure it’s necessarily that black andwhite I think we you know

 

we do we dogood work hereand we do good work here for good peopleand you have any kind of concluding mostlike if people are watching this I’msure what career they want to go into amaybe on the road to becoming a lawyerstudying law or kind of trying to decidewhat your conversion whether to do vakschemes or to consider becoming a lawyerall together yeah what would be youradvice life’s often about compromise andand you know probably not not every joband not every decision you make is gonnabe the perfect one but it’s aboutfinding what what’s right really Isuppose for you and you know so far inmy career I’ve been really lucky andwhat I do is really interesting we getcompensated well I have a good work-lifebalance I I enjoy my job I like mycolleagues there they’re all reallyinteresting really interesting to peopleyeah so you know it’s worked well for meI think being a lawyer will probablyalways set you in good stead it’s youknow it’s great training and I think andit’s a great way to kind of learn todeal with people as well and people puta lot of trust in you which is which isis great and from even from you know dayone so you know I never dissuade anyonefrom doing it and you know unless theyhave a burning passion to go and dosomething else in which case do it do ityeah yeah awesome

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