Attorney (Female, Age 31) in Portland, OR

This is a REAL-LIFE job profile written by a Female aged 31 who works as a Attorney in Portland, OR. This professional kindly spent a bit of their time to complete our job profile survey so that prospective job seekers like you could read their insights. Please excuse any punctuation or grammatical errors in this profile.

At a Glance

Current Job

Basic data on your current job

Job TitleAttorney
Salary$47,000
Other Compensation None Set
Hours/Week
Company Size(not answered)
LocationPortland, OR
Years Experience2 years

Career Ratings

Opinions on your CAREER overall (i.e. not just your current job)

Years in Career0
Education(not answered)
Income Rating0 / 10
Interest Rating0 / 10
Work-Life Rating0 / 10
Fulfilment Rating0 / 10

Table of Contents

Current job Q&A

Describe the type of organization you work for.
I work for a 25 attorney public defenders office. The firm is a non-profit organization that contracts with the State to provide defense attorneys for poor people charged with crimes.

Describe your job role and responsibilities.
I represent indigent defendants during probaion violation hearings, pleas, trials, and sentencing.

Please list an additional benefits (beyond compensation) that you receive.
10 hours of vacation and sick time per month, PacificSource health insurance, dental insurance, retirement plan

Do you feel you are under/over or well/fairly compensated at your current position?
UNDER

Does your job entail you working with others on a daily basis? Is this something you like/dislike about your job? Please explain.
I work with others all the time and like it. I work with clients, attorneys, court staff, and judges to find resolution to my client’s cases. I argue with judges and district attorneys about legal rules and evidence. I talk to jurors about the cases I handle and why clients might not be guilty.

Do you work collaboratively with supervisors/managers?

Do you work collaboratively with your co-workers?
Yes

Describe your work location (e.g., office, home, theatre, in the field) and what you like/dislike about working in it.

Please rate each of the following aspects of your current job on a scale of 1-10 (10 being the highest/best):
Income: 3
Benefits: 6
Hours: 5
Co-Workers: 2
Supervisors: 4
Job Title: 8
Level of Responsibility: 7
The Actual Work: 1

A day in the life of…

Please describe a typical workday for you in your current job:

5am to 6am
6am to 7am
7am to 8amArrive at work by 7:30 to complete trial preparation. Compile jury instructions and case law for trial set to begin at 9am. Anticipate that trial will be set over, but prepare to go forward to trial that day.
8am to 9amGet suit and makeup on and go to court. Talk with clients outside of courtroom about likelihood of actually getting trial out that day. Report to court that I’m ready to go to trial on all cases.
9am to 10amFind out that one of my trials will, in fact, go forward. Notify client and go to another courtroom to set other case over. While in that courtroom, address 2 other minor legal matters regarding other cases
10am to 11amMeet with Judge and DA in chambers to discuss scheduling. Argue motions in limine to judge. Tell judge this will be a jury trial and have judge bring up jurors
11am to 12pmBegin vior dire. Ask jurors questions about their feelings about alcohol and driving under the influence of intoxicants. Ask how they feel about police. Ask what they beleive Beyond a Reasonable Doubt means. Ask about the presumption of innocence
12pm to 1pmLunch, which means preparing for opening statements and cross examination of the police officer. Return phone calls.
1pm to 2pmReturn to court. Appear in another courtroom to cover a probation violation hearing. Client is in lockdown so cannot be brought to court. Case is set over.
2pm to 3pmTrial judge is addressing another legal matter, so wait 30 minutes before case resumes. Return to voir dire portion of trial.
3pm to 4pmSelect jury. Present opening statements. District attorney begins case in chief
4pm to 5pmCross examine police officer. Lodge objection that leads to a long legal argument about whether a piece of evidence should be presented to the jury.
5pm to 6pmTrial continued to tomorrow. Return to office and return phone calls
6pm to 7pmGo home and pick up son from nanny. Play with him until 7.
7pm to 8pmFeed son and clean kitchen. Play with son.
8pm to 9pmPut son to bed and try to relax. Clean up house/living area.
9pm to 10pmRelax – watch TV or read newspaper. Have a cocktail.
10pm to 11pmGo to bed.
11pm to 12amHopefully asleep by now.

How you got your job

How did you get your current job?
Referral

What was the application process?
Resume

Did you have to interview for your current job? If yes, what did the interview process entail?
Very intense interview – I was given a fact sheet and told to prepare a closing argument in 5 minutes, then gave the closing argument to all of the managing attorneys in the office. Then answered challenging ethics questions for about 40 minutes.

If you can remember, what questions were you asked during the interview?
If a client is about to be taken into custody to serve a lengthy sentence, and she has her 5 month old baby with her, and the judge is yelling at you to deal with the baby, and she is begging you to take the baby, and the sheriffs are there to take her to jail, and the baby is crying, do you take the baby? (answer: no.)

Do you feel your employer properly prepared you for your job? Explain.
I don’t think you can really be prepared for my job.

Was there training for your current position? If yes, what did it entail?
Short of Law School, we have regular Continuing Legal Education classes about trial advocacy and the current state of the law.

Do you feel your educational background prepared you for your job? Explain.
Yes, Law School was fairly intensive and I took lots of criminal and trial advocacy courses.

If applicable, do you feel your internship experience helped you prepare for your job?
Yes, it helped me prepare, become known in the community, and know that I actually wanted the job.

If someone wanted to go about getting a job similar to yours, what would you recommend for him or her to do?
Have to go to law school. In law school, I recommend interning at a public defenders office or volunteering with a nonprofit legal services agency. Most people hired into my office previously interned with a poverty law firm. I also specialized in criminal law in school, so was able to present that as an additional asset in my application.

What skills do you think a person should have if they want to pursue a position like yours?
Should have a healthy sense of outrage about the system, should be optimistic, should be fairly organized and have a great memory.

Do you feel that you need a certain level of education or training to be successful in your job?
Yes – must have a JD

What advice would you give to someone who was about to start work in your position/ line of work?
Find a mentor or someone to bounce ideas off of and ask questions of. There are so many rules and arguments available that it’s almost impossible to be aware of all of the options. It’s a good idea to have others to bounce ideas off of.

Long-term career plans

Is your current employment part of your overall career plan? Why or why not?
Yes, it’s a great starting point for a legal career

What are your current career goals?
I would like to make enough money to pay back my massive student loan debt, but also want to enjoy the work I do.

Is there anything else you would like to share about your career?

Prior work history

Please list your most recent jobs prior to this current job:

TitleLengthSalaryDescription
Prior Job 1Attorney2 years46000Misdemeanor staff attorney
Prior Job 2Intern18 months15.00 per hourLegal intern for misdemeanor department

Educational background

Please list your educational background:

High School GPA:3.2

GPASchoolDegree
College (Undergraduate)
or Technical/Vocational
n/aEvergreen State CollegeBachelors Degree Liberal Arts
Graduate or Professional
(Masters or Doctorate)
2.8Lewis and ClarkJuris Doctor Criminal Law

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