Statistically, most lawsuits do not make it to a courtroom, they are settled by attorneys long before a trial is to happen. The majority of cases are disposed of through mediation, arbitration or settlement conferences. Most clients, plaintiffs who bring suit and defendants opposing them, don’t want to suffer the time, expense and uncertainty of a trial. Most civil attorneys even prefer not to take a case to trial. These points may have you wondering why you would ever need to hire a trial lawyer.
What is a Trial Lawyer?
Before looking at the benefits of hiring a trial lawyer, it’s important to define exactly what a trial lawyer is. They are, in fact, just what it sounds like, attorneys who work at trials. Typically, they don’t get involved with the case until it is being presented in the courtroom. Litigation attorneys, who specialize in the specific type of lawsuit being argued, handle the case up until a settlement is reached or the case goes to trial. They file lawsuits, gather evidence, conduct research, meet with the client, and file and argue motions. If the case is not settled, then a trial attorney will commonly take over and prepare it for the courtroom. The trial attorney is the one who questions witnesses, presents evidence and argues the case in front of the judge and jury. In other words, litigators are the preparers, and trial attorneys are the presenters.
Trial attorneys also differ from litigation attorneys in their area of expertise. Many trial lawyers are considered generalists. That means that they do not specialize in one or two areas of the law as litigation lawyers do. Trial lawyers specialize in the ability to favorably present a case in front of a judge and jury. They are excellent public presenters and persuasive debaters. They may argue a cases in many areas of the law without being an expert in those areas. Trial lawyers rely on the research and information of the litigation lawyer who is handling the case to help them prepare it for trial.
Why Hire a Trial Lawyer?
Despite the fact that most cases never make it to trial and that trial lawyers only come into play when they do, there are still some very good reasons to hire a trial lawyer.
- Opposing lawyers will take notice. Every case that a lawyer represents has an opposing lawyer, or team of lawyers, who are looking for the best results for their client. They make recommendations and give advice on what they should accept in terms of a settlement. Those opposing attorneys have much to consider when making those recommendations – the merits of the case, the evidence that can potentially be presented, and the experience, strength and competence of your counsel. If the lawyer or firm that you have on your side is known for their competency, success and efficiency in selecting juries, arguing on behalf of their clients, and convincing juries to side with their clients, that often has a positive effect on the opposing counsel’s willingness to settle.
- You may get a settlement faster, and it may be worth more. Opposing counsel is more likely to settle earlier and for a greater amount when they are opposed by a trial lawyer with the above reputation.
- Trial lawyers understand the whole process. A trial lawyer is better able to see the extent of the trial process and thus, is better able to make recommendations regarding the value, merits, strengths and weaknesses of your case.
- It is always better to be prepared. It may be true that most lawsuits are settled before a trial gets underway, but what if that isn’t the case for yours? If you have a trial lawyer who is also a litigator, already on the case, your lawsuit will be in better shape than if you have to bring in someone new to take over at trial.
Finding the Right Attorney for Your Case
Your best bet when hiring an attorney is to find a litigation attorney who specializes in the type of law that you need, and who is also an experienced trial attorney. This situation will provide your case with a seamless transition if it does go to trial.
Ross Feller Casey has both litigation and trial attorneys (and lawyers who are both), and we have a long list of record-setting verdicts and settlements to prove it. We offer free case evaluations to determine your best course of action. Contact us for guidance on how to proceed.
All of our cases at Ross Feller Casey are handled on a contingency basis, so you don’t pay until we win your case.