This article was written in May 2020, when K&L Gates was operating under mandatory work from home protocols. We have tried to give you the best indication of what a 'Day in the Life' is like at our firm, and have reflected on what a typical day looks like for our people when we are working from our offices.
As an early riser, I usually wake up around this time. Waking up early gives me a head start on the day. I generally head to the gym for some sort of morning workout or go for a walk. Anything to clear my head and avoid a screen.
On my morning commute, I have a quick glance at any emails that have come through overnight. I like doing this as it gets me thinking about how my day is shaping up. I grab a coffee from the café in my building and then head upstairs.
Once at my desk, I log in and properly review the emails from overnight. I send replies to any internal emails which do not require review by my seniors (for example, clarification from a senior associate on an email from yesterday or sending a copy of a document to a partner). I then jot down a to-do list of tasks I need to do for the day. I find this a really helpful way of prioritising my work. This team doesn't start as early as others so this quieter time is particularly productive to knock out a task without interruption.
One of my tasks this morning is some ongoing due diligence work. As a junior lawyer, you will do a lot of this. In this transaction, we act for the buyers. The sellers have provided a series of documents in relation to the business we are looking to buy. As a junior lawyer in the corporate team, I've been tasked with reviewing documents relating to the corporate structure of the company and any material contracts. We also have to divide the documents across our firm's teams to review, such as the employment agreements, finance documents and property contracts. It is my job to then pull the entire due diligence report together. Project management is crucial in bringing this together for the partner to review. I've sent an email to my partner (who is currently in a meeting) just to let him know my progress. I've also suggested that I should check-in with the other teams to remind them of the approaching deadline to have their reviews back to me. I'm going to spend time today reviewing some of the corporate documents. There is a lot to get through so it is important to work at it every day so the days before the deadline are not so frantic.
Some of the team are heading down for a coffee. This is a great chance to get out for 5 minutes, clear your head and see what other people in the team are working on. As a grad, it is a great opportunity to get to know your colleagues a little better.
Back at my desk, my partner comes to discuss the due diligence email I sent him. He is happy for me follow up with the other teams and has asked for a list of queries we have so far from each team relating to the documents that we can send to the other side. He wants that out by the end of the day, if possible. I put this on my to-do list. In the meantime, I send those emails to the other teams reminding them of looming deadlines and asking for a list of current queries.
I have lunch with one of the others from my grad cohort in the food court downstairs. We take advantage of the nice weather and go for a quick walk around the CBD. I like to have a break from the office whenever possible and reset.
On a different matter, last night we sent an email to a client in relation to some preliminary due diligence findings. My senior associate has a call with these clients now. In this call, we will follow up the email, summarise what we found and answer any questions. As I did a lot of the reviews, the senior associate wants me involved in the call. While I probably won't do the majority of the talking, it's important to get a feel for what the client's priorities and concerns are.
Another matter I'm assisting with is closing in a couple of weeks. I follow up with one of our senior associates about an email we just received. These deadlines come around quickly so it is important to stay on top of things. She's asked me to draft some completion documents. As a junior lawyer, you will often be tasked with doing the first round of drafting. It's great to look at previous examples to get an idea of the firm's substance and form with these documents. I ask the senior associate when she wants these by, as I have some other tasks to work on from this morning. This kind of communication is crucial, particularly with everyone working across many matters at once. Seniors need time to review your work, provide you with feedback and give the client exactly what they're looking for. My senior associate tells me that I can get these to her tomorrow afternoon, as they are not as urgent. She encourages me to take my time.
The last of the due diligence queries have come through from the other teams from my email this morning. I compile these and put together an email for my partner to review before I send it. Once he's happy with it, I send it to the lawyers for the Sellers.
I've finished the last of the contract reviews for the day. It's been a busy day, but that's made it go quickly. I write a to-do list for tomorrow. I then head home, have something to eat and then get to bed around 10:30. I need some well-earned zzz's for tomorrow…