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A family lawyer works within a firm or practice and represents clients whose problems include issues with divorce—whether marriage breakdowns or the end of civil partnerships—and prenuptial agreements, along with cases involving child maintenance and matters of inheritance. Each case involves interviewing a client before researching his case and finally presenting it in court.
A family lawyer typically makes it into her office by 9 in the morning, with the day ending between 6 and 8 in the evening, depending on the amount of work she has to get through. Evening seminars and socializing events within the law firm might mean the lawyer goes home later, according to the Legal Jobs Board.
In a typical day, the family lawyer will spend a large amount of time communicating with clients. These include clients whose cases are ongoing, as the lawyer will want to discuss the outcome of hearings and each client’s next move. The lawyer will also interview new clients to gather details of their cases.
Many family lawyers work within a team at their practice. On a typical day, they might lunch with colleagues or discuss case matters with them. The lawyer might also correspond with other experts in her field from outside her practice to receive input on especially complex cases
Much of the family lawyer’s day may be spent in the office, where he will divide his time between the routine answering and checking of correspondence—in the forms of emails and frequently long letters from clients and other lawyers—and the organization and drafting of work. Having met with clients previously, the lawyer might have to dictate a client’s declaration. In addition, the lawyer may spend a few hours researching parts of a specific case to pull together the arguments to be made in court.
On many days, the family lawyer will have to attend court to argue her client’s case before a judge. Before appearing, the lawyer will have thoroughly prepared and outlined what she plans to say. However, a hearing can take a lot of time. Occasionally, a lawyer may wait in court only to find that the hearing is to be moved to a different day, as Paul Daniel Marks, a family lawyer, notes on his blog.
Simon Fuller has been a freelance writer since 2008. His work has appeared in "Record Collector," "OPEN" and the online publication, brand-e. Fuller has a Bachelor of Arts in English literature from the University of Reading and a postgraduate diploma from the London School of Journalism.