The last thing any client wants is the lawyer responsible for whole process of a trial to have those experiences at the client’s expense. Indeed, there is absolutely no reason why any client should bear such a risk. The one question most clients never ask is how many jury trials has a lawyer handled in his or her career. Most lawyers do not volunteer that information. Why? I believe many clients expect that lawyers who hold themselves out as trial lawyers or “litigators” have had many trials when the truth is that many have never had a single jury trial for which they were the primary lawyer. Lawyers do not often volunteer the amount of their experience because many lawyers either are embarrassed about the lack of trial experience they have or are afraid that they will lose clients if they admit their lack of trial experience.
How do you know the amount of jury trial experience that a lawyer has? Ask! If you are not satisfied with the answer, your next decision is either to ask more questions or find a new lawyer.
During the course of my more than thirty years of experience, I have been lead counsel in more than fifty jury trials, some in state court and some in federal court. Prior to becoming lead counsel in my first jury trial, I had many trials that were decided by a judge – court trials – including four in my first year of practice – and was the junior lawyer on several jury trials. Trials, whether they are jury trials or court trials, are the part of my practice that I find most challenging and intriguing. The trial process mixes creativity, tenacity, written and oral advocacy, psychology, and performance into one environment. That is not a process for everyone. Hopefully, you will never need to experience a trial – if you do, make sure your lawyer is experienced in the process and still challenged and intrigued by the dynamic of representing you and presenting your claim.