A Day in the Life: Mid-level Corporate Law Associate

8:30 a.m.: Arrive at the office and read the local business journal or business section of the newspaper. (Local companies still make up the bulk of most firms' business.) Skim through any trade publications looking for articles relevant to clients' industry sectors. Note any articles that might be interesting to send to clients.

9:00 a.m.: Start responding to e-mail and voice mail messages from the night before. E-mail will contain requests for contract drafting or review and/or questions about documents you have previously drafted. Spend time creating the day's to-do list, noting where input from more senior attorneys is needed and where matters can be delegated to more junior attorneys.

9:30 a.m.: Long conference call with opposing counsel to discuss the comments which you circulated yesterday on the asset purchase agreement and related documents opposing counsel had drafted. You explain point by point why the changes are necessary for your client, and you and the opposing counsel negotiate the agreements. Business issues that require input from the clients are tabled -- i.e., purchase price adjustment, other changes in economics.

10:45 a.m.: Just off of conference call, you check your messages: two are from senior attorneys in the firm. One senior attorney wants to give you his comments on venture documents you drafted last night. Another wants you to participate in a client pitch at 4 p.m. The third message is from a public company client that has a securities law question. You haven't talked to this client in three weeks, but the client calls you for periodic legal advice.

10:45 a.m.: Call back the public company client first. The client asks you whether certain company information needs to be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission immediately or whether it can wait until the company's next quarterly filing. You tell the client you'll look into it and get back to them today.

10:50 a.m.: Stop by the senior attorney's office who left you a message about the venture documents. He tells you his thoughts and comments on the documents. This is another matter unrelated to the asset purchase agreement you were negotiating in the morning. Most corporate attorneys handle several deals at once. You explain to your assistant which of his comments to incorporate into the documents and leave the assistant to make the changes.

11:00 a.m.: Call back the other senior attorney. He asks you to participate in a client pitch later that day at 4:00. You are asked to pull some forms of agreements the firm uses for its biotech clients.

11:10 a.m.: Call the client regarding the asset purchase agreement you were negotiating in the morning. Summarize the tone and contents of your call with opposing counsel and ask for the client's feedback on the business issues that were tabled. Take notes.

11:15 a.m.: Research the securities law question that was raised from your public company client. Call a senior attorney to confirm the results of your research.

11:40 a.m.: E-mail the company that is awaiting the venture documents to let them know they will be coming this afternoon and that you are just incorporating the senior attorney's comments. Frequent status updates are an important part of client relations.

11:45 a.m.: Call back the public company client and explain the information must be filed as soon as possible with the SEC and tell them you will prepare the filing. Enlist the help of a junior associate to prepare the filing.

11:55 a.m.: Call the opposing counsel back on the asset purchase agreement and explain your client's business position and comments.

12:15 p.m.: Go to lunch training session. Most large firms have periodic training sessions on relevant corporate law topics.

1:15 p.m.: Pull together a package of form agreements for the client pitch this afternoon.

1:30 p.m.: Proof the changes to the venture documents which were entered by your assistant. Read through the documents in their entirety looking for any last minute changes. Make last minute changes. Distribute the documents to your client with a long cover memorandum explaining what each document contains.

2:00 p.m.: A client you periodically serve calls to asks you to draft a compensation package for a new Chief Scientific Officer who will be relocating to the area for this job. You begin drafting the offer letter, employment agreement, option agreement, etc.

3:15 p.m.: The junior associate sends you a draft of the SEC report for the public company client. You interrupt your drafting of the compensation package to review it and get comments back to the junior associate.

3:40 p.m.: Resume drafting the compensation package.

4:00 p.m.: Meet the senior attorney in a conference room for the client pitch. The two of you explain deals you have done in the recent past and why your firm will serve this client better than all of the other firms in town. Listen to the client present its business.

5:00 p.m.: Finish drafting the compensation package and get it to the senior attorney for review before it goes out to the client. Call the client to say you will have it to the client by tomorrow afternoon.

5:30 p.m.: The junior associate sends you the revised SEC filing for the public company client. You review, add comments and then distribute to the client.

5:45 p.m.: A client calls you unexpectedly to discuss a term sheet the client just received from a venture firm in California. You walk the client through the terms of the deal and explain how you think the terms vary from the current market terms. The client asks you to mark up the term sheet with your comments.

6:15 p.m.: You review and mark up the term sheet based on your client's needs as just discussed. You send a blackline of the term sheet to your client for further review.

7:00 p.m.: On a particularly busy day, 7 p.m. is the best time to start drafting agreements as clients and senior attorneys generally aren't calling anymore. Before going home, you check with opposing counsel to see if she plans to distribute revised versions of the asset purchase agreement and related documents tonight or tomorrow. As the documents will come tomorrow, you can go home. If they were coming tonight, you would likely stay another hour to review the revised agreements (depending on the timing of the deal).