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ISM- MENTOR INTERVIEW ASSIGNMENT QUESTIONS

Student Name: Nisandi Silva Period: 6th

Printed Name of Person Interviewed: Tal Hammock

Role of Individual:
__X__Mentor
Place/Name of Business: Hammock Law Firm

Business Address: 1002 Gemini Ave #100, Houston, TX 77058

Phone Number:

Date of Interview: 11/10/17

Type of Interview: __X__ In Person

1. For someone working in your field, please describe the fantasies versus realities of the job.
(fantasy vs. reality)

Many people believe when they become an attorney it is like you see on television. They think
there are a lot of high profile cases and that you are in the courtroom all the time. They also think you
make a lot of money. The reality is there is a ton a paperwork and behind the scenes work that has to
occur for you to be ready to go to trial. Cases can take months if not years before the trial date and
many, many times the case settles without it ever going to trial. So, the day to day tasks are much more
mundane than what you see on television. Also, while you certainty can make a good living at being an
attorney, it is not a lucrative as television would have you believe.

2. What is your current educational level? What continuing education and training are required?
(educational level and requirements)

Mr. Hammock has a Doctorate of Juris Prudence. He is required to do 15 hours of continuing


education every year.

3. Please describe the typical day to day activities of someone working in your field.
(day-to-day activities)

Revised Fall 2017


In his practice, a typical day will include talking to my current clients about their case and often
speaking with a prospective client about their situation to see if he can be of assistance. Many days are
spent reviewing records related to my cases, writing letters to opposing counsel, and drafting pleadings
or discovery that will be filed in a case. Less frequently he will actually be in court for a hearing or trial.

4. How secure are you in your current position? What do you think is the future of your field?
(job security)

I am very secure in my position in that I am the owner of the firm. I am confident that I will
have enough work to keep the firm open and operating. In terms of the future of my field, I think it will
be much the same. There will always be a need for lawyers. Where I do see some changes is that areas
such as intellectual property rights has become a bigger field as technology has played a bigger
sandbagger role in peoples lives. But there will always be a need for lawyers who practice in the more
typical areas like Probate, estate Planning, Family Law, Criminal Law and Civil Trial work.

5. What is a typical (average or lowest to highest) salary of someone working in your field?
(salary)

It varies greatly depending on where you graduate in your law school class, what type of firm
you go to work for, what kind of law you practice and how experienced you are. A new attorney
practicing in a small firm in the Clear Lake/ League City area will probably make anywhere from
$45,000 - $70,000 a year to begin with. But, the top student from their law school class that goes to
work for a big downtown firm could make something more like $125,000 or more a year. It really just
depends.

6. What potential for growth is there in your field?


(growth potential)

Again, I would say I see growth more in handling intellectual property matters as we become a society
that has more and more technology in our lives. Think about all the patents, patent litigation and
copyright work that has been created with the rise of the internet. 20+ years ago when I went to law
school there was no internet so all the legal work that is related to Apps and information protection,
hacking issues, that did not even exist.

***Questions 7-10 will be created by the ISM student.

7. How do you deal with losing a case?


Not well. Bottom line is that if you practice long enough you will win your fair share of cases but you
will lose some as well. The reality is any case that is heavily weighted to one side or the other will likely
settle. It is the tough cases that get tried. As long as I feel as though I did my best to properly prepare for
trial and I gave my client a good trial, then I have to be content with that. But I hate losing. I hate losing
more than I enjoy winning.
Revised Fall 2017
8. Has a client fired you before?
Yes. I had a client at one point who did not like the advice I was giving her. Essentially, I told her she
needed to stop doing some things and she did not like to hear that. So, she fired me.

9. Have you had to fire a client before?


Yes. It does not happen much but I have had to fire clients when I feel like they are not listening to me
or when they are doing things that I have told them not to do. Also, sometimes if a client does not pay
for the services we provide we have to stop working for them.

10. What do you enjoy the most about your job?


On a professional level, I enjoy being in the courtroom. I like being in trials or at hearings much more
than I like doing paperwork. From a satisfaction standpoint what I enjoy most is helping people. Most of
the time people come to lawyers when they have a problem. I like helping them deal with that problem.
Finally, I have chosen toward in the suburbs and for smaller firms. I did that, so I had the flexibility to
spend more time with my family than perhaps I would have been able to if I were working at a large
firm that had high time demands.

Interview Summary
What information from this interview will you select for your page typed,
bulleted list of research informationto be used in your presentation?
Create a bulleted summary list on the next page.

Revised Fall 2017


Interview summary

Tv law shows do not reflect the reality of law


Cases arent won or handled as fast as an hour long tv episode
A day at work isnt all that dramatic, tv shows blow it completely out of proportion
Lawyers arent always in a court room
Cases get settled before it gets sent to trial
People believe they make tons of money
There is tons and tons of paper work
Cases take months and even years to prepare
Tv law shows portray lawyers to have action pact/dynamic day but in reality, it is tedious.
A typical day includes talking to clients, reviewing records, writing letters to opposing counsel,
and drafting pleadings or discovery that will be filed in a case
There will always be a need for lawyers
The mount a lawyer gets paid depends on where you graduate in your law school class and what
type of firm they work for
You win some you lose some. Usually a case is weighted towards one side and the other side
will like to settle
A client can fire a lawyer
A lawyer can fire a client
Being a lawyer allows you to help people when they have problems

Revised Fall 2017