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khumphri

What area of practice requires the least amount of reading?

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Don't get me wrong...I love reading (I regularly blast through a novel in a day), but I would rather not read all day in my job as a lawyer. I like talking with people. I like writing. And I'd like to have enough eye-power left to read my novel before bed. Any suggestions as to what areas of law or types of legal practice I should aim for? Thanks in advance!

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This is a tough one. Some practice areas require reading a lot of case law and doing a lot of research,. Other practice areas require a lot of drafting and revisions which requires a lot of detailed reading and analysis of documents. It can also depend on the size of the files you're working on as well as the size of your team. 

For example, some M&A partners will be on the phone all day, then will provide associates with instructions for revising drafts, or reviewing agreements. Similarly, some (all) litigation partners will delegate research and memo writing down to associates. But at the end of the day, they still need to review the draft transaction documents, or research memos, respectively. 

I'm not sure there are any particular stand-out practice areas I can think of that do more or less reading than the others. Regardless of the practice area, you're basically going to be reading hundreds of emails in between phone calls. 

Personally, practicing law has taken a bit of the fun out of reading novels or other books after work. It's really hard to read for pleasure after sifting through emails all day. But I know plenty that do still enjoy it. 

 

As a side note: and I know you opened with "don't get me wrong..." but I don't think this is necessary and posters shouldn't be harassed for these types of questions. There's definitely a trend lately where a lot of people on this board have been asking questions about work life balance, hours, how much work it is to be a lawyer, how happy we are in our careers, etc.  I think these questions help the prospective legal community as a whole. This industry is filled with enough miserable people and know exactly what to expect when you join the bar is just being responsible. I just wanted to get that out there before people bombard you with "find another career if you don't want to [insert dog shit part about being a lawyer]". 

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7 minutes ago, setto said:

Personally, practicing law has taken a bit of the fun out of reading novels or other books after work. It's really hard to read for pleasure after sifting through emails all day. But I know plenty that do still enjoy it. 

Agreed. My reading is now exclusively reserved for weekends in which I work less than 5 hours. 

My novel shelf of "read" has gotten smaller than my shelf "to read".

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I think, no matter what, you're going to be reading a lot. But I would guess that any lawyer practicing more retail law (real estate, family, Wills & Estates) probably does less reading than, say, commercial/M&A lawyers or basically any civil litigator, mainly because retail lawyers get paid for facetime/telephone calls with the clients more than drafting/reviewing documents (although that's still a big part of it to be sure).

Also, I think the type of reading makes a difference. Reading through the opposing party's productions and expert reports for 10 hours straight is very different from firing off 20 emails, looking over a draft Will for 15 minutes, reviewing a standard OREA APS for 5 minutes, etc. Even if it's dry, at least you get variety, get to change sync often enough, and don't have to focus for too long at a time.

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2 hours ago, Mountebank said:

I think, no matter what, you're going to be reading a lot. But I would guess that any lawyer practicing more retail law (real estate, family, Wills & Estates) probably does less reading than, say, commercial/M&A lawyers or basically any civil litigator, mainly because retail lawyers get paid for facetime/telephone calls with the clients more than drafting/reviewing documents (although that's still a big part of it to be sure).

Also, I think the type of reading makes a difference. Reading through the opposing party's productions and expert reports for 10 hours straight is very different from firing off 20 emails, looking over a draft Will for 15 minutes, reviewing a standard OREA APS for 5 minutes, etc. Even if it's dry, at least you get variety, get to change sync often enough, and don't have to focus for too long at a time.

Family may not have much reading but it has so...much...drafting...

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1 hour ago, artsydork said:

Family may not have much reading but it has so...much...drafting...

Just don't read it over and you're good.

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1 hour ago, artsydork said:

Family may not have much reading but it has so...much...drafting...

Not when clients insist that you read all their text messages for "evidence."

 

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24 minutes ago, Aureliuse said:

Not when clients insist that you read all their text messages for "evidence."

 

Yikes, I can imagine. I occasionally visit r/relationships and r/legaladvice. Often it's interesting enough, but there have definitely been a few posts that just ramble on and on to the point where it's no longer interesting.

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5 hours ago, Gandhi said:

Real estate law

 

You mean you don't read the standard form mortgage agreement cover to cover for every single conveyance? How else can I justify my fees??

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11 minutes ago, Chambertin said:

I don't know about other areas, but definitely not tax. 

"definitely not [whatever area the poster practices in]"

I don't think many people think their area of practice only has minimal reading. I also think there's a difference in the kind of reading involved, as has been noted above.  You're likely to do lots of reading no matter the area, be it financial docs, reviewing drafts, reading cases, or reading underlying documents/exhibits. The hope is to find a type/subject matter that seems less draining.

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Posted (edited)
17 hours ago, Mountebank said:

I think, no matter what, you're going to be reading a lot. But I would guess that any lawyer practicing more retail law (real estate, family, Wills & Estates)

This sounds like the closest thing. Similarly I've found certain secured financing transactions to be a bit less reading intensive and more about shepherding my client towards financial close. This will especially be the case for smaller facilities (less than 20 million?) where the borrower has less leverage to negotiate the lender's standard paper. 

Edited by CalEdtransplant

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Can echo most of the above about retail law. I do mostly real estate which you might assume has a painful amount of reading but ironically it does not, most of the time. Once you've read a couple of subdivision agreements you start just skimming them for headings and keywords, really. The same principle applies to a lot of the standard paperwork. 

There is literally so much paperwork that you cannot read it. You would have to be a cyborg. One of the things that not enough people admit about the digital world is that it allows the production of documentation at such a speed and volume that human beings with our squishy gray brains just cannot keep up. 

It sounds insane because it if but if the bank sends me 60 pages for your mortgage package my office might need to actually "read" like, two of those pages. The rest I just need to find the signing lines and shove across the table to you. You are getting copies of everything anyway and you can ask any questions you want. Most of the cursed three page forms can be explained entirely from the god damned title anyway. The volume of paperwork on some of this stuff is beyond the point where any reasonable person should be expected to read it. 

The most common example of detailed reading I do is probably proofreading my own prose. 

Of course from time to time I deal with a unique contract, or draft one, that involves a lot of specific and detailed reading. Same goes when dealing with something for the very first time, or drafting a new template, stuff like that. Something like a title search on land stuck in the Registry system can feel like focused reading. Occasionally I do have to do some research too and *puke* have to actually read a case or two.

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21 hours ago, khumphri said:

Don't get me wrong...I love reading (I regularly blast through a novel in a day), but I would rather not read all day in my job as a lawyer. I like talking with people. I like writing. And I'd like to have enough eye-power left to read my novel before bed. Any suggestions as to what areas of law or types of legal practice I should aim for? Thanks in advance!

Even in those areas that could require less reading, you’re going to be reading a lot in the first decade or so, just learning the law and building a knowledge base. 
 

If you didn’t, what the hell would you have to write about? What would you talk about? 

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7 hours ago, Chambertin said:

I don't know about other areas, but definitely not tax. 

Was going to say the same thing...

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