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Lead Your Team Personal Growth

7 Lawyers on What They Love (and Hate) About Their Jobs

7 Lawyers on What They Love (and Hate) About Their Jobs
Credit: www.BillionPhotos.com/Shutterstock

You've likely seen your fair share of lawyers on TV and movie courtroom dramas, but do you know what it's really like to be an attorney? It's not always as glamorous as it seems on the big screen, and lawyers don't always spend their days arguing high-profile cases in packed courtrooms. Lawyers do a whole lot more than defend or prosecute criminals — law practices cover everything from small business and family issues to taxes and immigration.

Business News Daily asked seven professionals with different law backgrounds and focuses to share what they love and hate about their jobs. Here's what it's really like to practice law.

Business News Daily: What do you do?

Renata Castro: I am an attorney licensed with the Florida Bar. My practice focus is in the Investment Immigration arena, and I help wealthy individuals move to the United States through the EB-5 program.

BND: What do you love most about your job, and why?

Castro: I love being able to participate in people's dreams to move to the USA lawfully, and, on the other hand, to be a part of an effective immigration program that has generated hundreds of thousands of jobs for communities across the United States. 

BND: What do you hate most about your job, and why?

Castro: My job is very high pressure, and because [clients] are investing $500,000  to move to the USA, they tend to think that the lawyer is receiving that amount — not true — and that they own you and your time — also not true. Therefore, the demands of client interaction far outweigh the legal work involved. I tend to travel overseas significantly, and there comes a time when you end up homesick. 

Business News Daily: What do you do?

David Benowitz: I am a founding partner at Price Benowitz LLP, which is located in the heart of Washington, D.C. I began my career as a public defender for the District of Columbia.I brought [that] experience to my own practice [where] I help my clients litigate cases in the District of Columbia, Maryland and U.S. District courts in D.C. and Maryland. [I am also] a faculty member for the Trial Advocacy Workshop at Harvard Law School.

BND: What do you love most about your job, and why?

Benowitz: I have grown to love working with clients to prepare an effective defense. I enjoy building strong defense strategies on a daily basis that allow each of my clients to achieve the best possible case result.

BND: What do you hate most about your job, and why?

Benowitz: The greatest challenge for defense attorneys is ensuring that your clients understand their rights. For instance, I receive numerous calls from potential clients about how they spoke to law enforcement without an attorney present. Many people feel that if they are innocent then it's okay to talk. It is essential for clients to keep quiet when approached by law enforcement because otherwise many times this adds another element to their case that they will need help rectifying.

Business News Daily: What do you do?

Autumn Witt Boyd: I'm a copyright, trademark, and business lawyer who specializes in working with creative companies. I have more than 10 years of experience with intellectual property and business issues and have been operating my own firm, The Law Office of Autumn Witt Boyd, since early 2015.

BND: What do you love most about your job, and why?

Witt Boyd: I love meeting creative business owners who are doing crazy, interesting things I never could have dreamed were possible. My favorite part about this career is helping my clients figure out the big legal picture for their business, answer questions that have been worrying them, and decide what they need to take care of now and what can wait. Working with creatives to protect their intellectual property, I often learn about new technologies or ideas before anyone else, and then help them strategize about how to grow their businesses, which is really fun.

BND: What do you hate most about your job, and why?

Witt Boyd: My least favorite part of this career is the litigation part of it. I learned after nearly 10 years of fighting with other lawyers that a nasty phone call or email just ruins my day. That's why my practice is now focused on consulting with business owners and helping them build their business with transactions; I'll only file a lawsuit if it's a last resort. [10 Job Interview Questions That Aren't Legal ]

Business News Daily: What do you do?

Shai Littlejohn: I'm an attorney and musician in Nashville, Tennessee. I currently have a small law practice where I counsel artists and music publishers. It is my only work outside of my songwriter/artist life. I closed the chapter on a successful law practice in Washington, D.C., because I wanted to focus on what I love most. 

BND: What do you love most about your job, and why?

Littlejohn: I reached a point in my career where I decided to be specific about which clients I accept and what type of projects I want to be involved with. It puts an entirely different face on your law practice. I choose to work with musicians, artists and entrepreneurs because I enjoy being around creative people. I love talking about deal terms, explaining the pros and cons and finding ways to protect their interests. The fun part about being a lawyer is that I get to be involved in new projects that really are dreams I can play a part in helping come true. In Washington, I worked for higher salaries. Now I work for freedom and adventure. 

BND: What do you hate most about your job, and why?

Littlejohn: When clients don't understand that lawyers must be compensated for their expertise. In the artist and musician community, clients want to pay for equipment, clothing and websites. Many don't understand how to prioritize legal advice. It's not something that a lawyer administers over lunch, but it requires an ongoing involvement to get it right. 

Business News Daily: What do you do?

Christina Kirk: I practice family, special education, and business setup law. A lot of my work has to do with family drama — divorces, child custody, guardianships, family member adoptions, etc. 

BND: What do you love most about your job, and why?

Kirk: There are several things I love about my career choice. I am proud to help families that truly need it. To assist a grandmother that has reared her grandchild for several years finally get legal guardianship is rewarding. Walking out of a special education meeting with a family knowing that my presence was able to secure much needed valuable services for their child is indescribable. Having a flexible schedule so I can be at every one of my daughter's school events, programs, and appearances is priceless. 

BND: What do you hate most about your job, and why?

Kirk: [I dislike] when adults put children in the middle of family issues. I also dislike the preconceived idea in a lot of people that only large law firms with the stereotypical gentlemen with the navy suits and white shirts can be good lawyers, or those that charge $500 and up per hour. Many times clients will pay these attorneys huge retainers, not get the desired outcome or communication, and then come to small or private practice attorneys seeking assistance but without funds. 

Business News Daily: What do you do?

Lyndsay Markley: [I'm a] Chicago-based personal injury and wrongful death attorney.

BND: What do you love most about your job, and why?

Markley: The best part of my job is being able to execute societal change. The cases that I typically handle relate to sexual abuse, wrongful death or serious injury, so these individuals need more than just legal advice — they need someone to guide them through the process with a high level of sensitivity. It's rewarding being able to support these people and fight for the compensation that they are rightfully owed. 

BND: What do you hate most about your job, and why?

Markley: In addition to being busy and fast-paced, my job is inherently adversarial and there are entire days — and when on trial, weeks — spent fighting with opposing counsel, a judge, or other third parties. I'm increasingly trying to find presence in my practice — truly focusing on one aspect at a time and finding the time to meditate to avoid burnout. 

Business News Daily: What do you do?

Stewart Patton: I am a U.S. attorney — admitted in Illinois — who lives in Belize. I have my own practice [where] I do tax planning and compliance for Americans who live or invest abroad, with a special focus on the digital nomad community.

BND: What do you love most about your job, and why?

Patton: Helping people solve their problems. Many of the issues I deal with are very emotional in nature; my clients often come to me afraid for their futures — e.g., those who haven't filed in a while — or completely confused about what they should do — e.g., expat entrepreneurs trying to figure out how to structure their business. I like to take people from scared and/or confused to happy and productive.

BND: What do you hate most about your job, and why?

Patton: Dealing with mistrustful or untrustworthy people. Sometimes a person will think I have ulterior motives or bad intentions; other people won't actually open up to me and tell me the truth of their situation. Both of these things make it impossible to actually help someone. 

Brittney Helmrich

Brittney M. Helmrich graduated from Drew University in 2012 with a B.A. in History and Creative Writing. She joined the Business News Daily team in 2014 after working as the editor-in-chief of an online college life and advice publication for two years. Follow Brittney on Twitter at @brittneyplz, or contact her by email.