Take a glimpse into one day in the life of Hallie Kiernan, a junior intellectual property associate at White & Case LLP:
6:30 a.m. – Wake up and enjoy a few minutes to gather myself for the day ahead.
6:45 a.m. – Make a smoothie, enjoy a glass of water with lemon, and get ready for work.
7:30 a.m. – Leave for my long Silicon Valley commute. In reality, I am very lucky that I live only a few miles from the office and avoid the worst of Bay Area traffic.
7:50 a.m. – Arrive at the office and log in to my computer.
7:55 a.m. – As the computer is starting up, I take my tea-for-one tea set to the kitchen and make myself a cup of tea for some much-needed caffeine.
8:05 a.m. – I go through my emails, looking specifically for those emails I purposely left unread the previous day in order to identify items for my to-do list. I look through emails from team members based in the New York office and make a list of the tasks I need to accomplish during my day.
8:30 a.m. – I read through subpoenas and third-party responses to the subpoenas to prepare for two meet-and-confer calls later in the day. I read the responses with an eye toward determining whether the third party will be amenable to providing documents in response to the subpoena, particularly if our team is able to narrow the request.
9:30 a.m. – I dial into the conference line for the first meet-and-confer call with a third party. I communicate directly with their in-house counsel, who informs me that the third party is amenable to providing responsive documents; however, the retailer would like our client to cover all costs associated with producing the documents. We agree that I will provide the name of a person who we believe may have relevant information to lessen the burden on the third party. Rather than agree to pay costs, we agree that the third party will run a search using the names provided and estimate any costs if responsive information is identified. I confirm verbally that our client is not agreeing to pay costs at that time. After the conclusion of the call, I make a note to draft a proposed email to the third party for the lead partners’ review.
10:00 a.m. – I review emails that I received during the meet-and-confer call. In the emails, I identify that I need to follow up on a pro bono matter, in which we represent a Humane Society that is seeking to enforce a ban on pet stores selling animals that are not obtained from a shelter or without compensation. Our client believes a pet store in San Luis Obispo County is selling puppies obtained through a sham corporation that launders puppies from puppy mills into the State of California. We are currently conducting discovery in the matter and need to edit a motion to compel response to one defendant for its failure to respond substantively to our requests.
10:10 a.m. – I edit the motion to compel against the remiss defendant and verify that we have procedurally covered all necessary requirements for filing with the state court. I email the team an updated draft.
10:45 a.m. – I turn to my to-do list and begin working on an outline for an expert report in a pharmaceutical patent case based out of the New York office. I begin by reading expert declarations from a previous court filing to determine the scientific background information we will need to include in the expert report. Next, I review our invalidity contentions to determine the matters on which the expert will opine. I compile the background information and invalidity contentions into an outline for the report. I use the invalidity contentions to ascertain the necessary law we will provide the expert as a basis for an accurate opinion. I include the necessary law in the outline.
12:00 p.m. – I attend a new associate training held by the New York office. Being three hours behind has its benefits when we attend trainings at lunch. Where the other offices get cookies and drinks, our office provides us with lunch. The training pertains to maintaining confidences of our clients, recognizing when privilege applies to communications, and protecting those communications. The timing of the training is perfect considering I am in the middle of discovery in a given case, and I must identify documents to withhold during production that contain privileged material.
1:00 p.m. – Finishing the training, I return to my office and once again check my emails to attend to any fires or responses.
1:04 p.m. – I realize I am late for the office’s monthly birthday celebration. Another perk to working out of a smaller office is the amazing firm culture and the ability to know every person in your office by name and hold informal gatherings such as this one.
1:30 p.m. – Full of cake, I turn to drafting the proposed emails to the in-house counsel from the mornings’ meet-and-confer call. Once the draft is finalized, I send the draft to the lead partner for review and comments.
1:45 p.m. – I read the responses of a second third party whom we subpoenaed for communications and sales figures. I verify that this third party has offered to conduct a review for documents, despite objecting to the subpoena, and strategize my approach to the call in light of their decision.
1:58 p.m. – I dial into the conference line a few minutes early to ensure I am on time.
2:01 p.m. – In-house counsel from the third party joins the conference call. This conference call has a much different tone than the previous call. The third party is more cooperative and offers to conduct a reasonable search. As a courtesy, we agree to extend the deadline for their response in light of their cooperation. The call ends.
2:17 p.m. – Using the first email I drafted earlier in the day as a template, I quickly draft an email to the second third party I spoke with and send to the lead partner for review.
2:31 p.m. – I read through the outline I prepared for the expert report and tailor the legal standards used in the draft to the facts of our case and our legal arguments. I check for spelling and grammar mistakes. Once I have gone through the draft a few times, I compose an email to the senior associate overseeing the expert report and attach the report for his review.
3:46 p.m. – I take a short walk with a coworker to a nearby Starbucks to get some afternoon sun and caffeine. It is hard at times to find time to be outside, even in a world of the internet, the computer and phone can be persistent and active. When possible, we try to get a few minutes outside, even if we just walk around the building a few times.
4:02 p.m. – I turn to a draft for a Notice of 30(b)(6) deposition. I read the previous sections I drafted a few days earlier and confirm the topics are still in line with the partner’s requests in the case and the strategy decided on by the team since my first draft. I then compose additional topics for depositions based on the new information learned during a discovery call. Having added the new topics, I prepare an email summarizing the new topics for the two lead partners. I include a proposed draft email to counsel for another defendant, who, with us, make up a joint defense group in the case. I send the summary email, draft email, and draft notice to the partners. I remind the partners in the email of the extended discovery deadline.
5:04 p.m. – I join my coworkers for our summer Casino Night! Using monopoly money and casino chips, we play poker, craps, blackjack and roulette and try to each amass a small fake fortune. We enjoy hors d’oeuvres and an open bar. At the end of the night, two of our summer associates are rich with casino chips and each takes home a small prize.
7:10 p.m. – I head to home to my friendly, four-legged roommate named Marlo, who keeps me company on those nights I need to burn the midnight oil.
7:25 p.m. – Tonight, however, I enjoy a small glass of wine and a CSI: NY episode or two while conducting research on motions to transfer venue in the Eastern District of Texas. While I do not need to do the research tonight, I have learned from experience that doing the research at night guarantees I will have uninterrupted time and can focus on the cases without distraction. I take a couple of hours to look for cases on point and save them for further review and summary tomorrow.
9:45 p.m. – I determine that I have enough cases to begin to wind down for the night. I prepare for the next day by prepping my smoothie ingredients and getting ready for bed.
10:25 p.m. – Lights Out!