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A Day in the Life: Litigation Counsel

by Tara Kelly, King & Spalding LLP

Tara Kelly
Litigation Counsel
King & Spalding LLP, Houston

6:00 a.m. Wake up. Because I keep my blackberry by my bed, I check it before I get up to see if there is anything I need to respond to immediately. I’m an addict—I know.

6:30 a.m. Feed the dogs, let them out and make tea.

6:45 a.m. Drink tea with my cat on my lap, and respond to e-mail and Twitter—I have three Twitter accounts: one personal, one law-related and one related to the non-profit urban garden where I serve on the Board.

7:30 a.m. Get ready for work, kiss my sleeping daughter (she is 3 1/2 and stays at home with my husband) and drive to work. I live 15 minutes from work in a 1920s bungalow. Sometimes the longest part of my commute is driving up to the 12th Floor of the parking garage.

8:30 a.m. Coffee (of course).

8:30 a.m. Touch base with an expert and a team member on status of tasks.

9:00 a.m. Meet client at its office. On a daily basis, my work varies, depending on where we are in preparing a case for trial. This could mean client meetings or preparing a witness for a deposition.

11 a.m. Prep, conduct and teach webinar for West on Social Media and Ethics. For lunch, I eat at my desk most days, but at least once or twice a week, I take a client or other contact out to lunch.

1:00 p.m. Participate in an hour-long conference call with client, miss call from elusive fact witness and read several emails from team members on discovery and deadlines. I make a quick call to our Louisiana counsel on a discovery dispute—many of our cases are venued in Louisiana.

2:30 p.m. Catch up with my team. The cases I work on include a number of lawyers and paralegals. Since I’m usually the one “driving the trains,” this usually means reviewing briefs, working on discovery and talking through legal issues.

3:30 p.m. This day, I ran out to watch my daughter’s ballet class (the challenge: not to be on my blackberry the entire time). Call a client on the way back to the office.

4:30 p.m. Catch up with an expert, hold a phone conference with a pro bono client, sit with an associate to talk through a contractual interpretation issue, answer client email and try again to catch the elusive fact witness. No luck on the fact witness. During breaks, I follow up on some tasks for non-profits I’m involved in. This week, I worked on soliciting auction items for a raffle, contacting a logo designer and finding alternative energy exhibitors for Earth Day. It’s amazing what you can get done on email, twitter, or Facebook in a few spare moments.

7:30 p.m. Go home. But at least two or three days out of the week, I will go out. This week, I attended a board meeting, a get-together with some foodie friends and a hockey game with clients. When I stay home, I am greeted by my daughter at the door with a hug. We play, draw, and watch kids’ movies or old musicals. I respond to emails.

9:00 p.m. We eat late. My husband is a fantastic cook and makes great food from local ingredients, which he plates like a professional. He takes pictures of the food for Twitter, which I get to vote on before he posts.

10:30 p.m. Two nighttime stories and bed for both my daughter and me. My husband cleans the kitchen.

My day: It is varied and sometimes tiring but fun.

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