We Are Trial Lawyers


For most of the normal “non-lawyer” world, lawyers are professionals who go to court and who try cases. Nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, most lawyers find career paths through which they never (or very rarely) go to court, such as government lawyers, in-house corporate attorneys, real estate attorneys, tax attorneys and others. From the remainder, many boast to be trial attorneys although they have never tried a single case. So what then gives an attorney the right to claim, as we do, that they are “trial attorneys”?It seems fundamental, but it needs to be said – trial attorneys actually try cases. Trial attorneys champion causes for their clients, whether it be to recover from a terrible loss or to restore someone’s dignity or reputation through the litigation process. If you talk to a supposed “trial lawyer” who says that they have never lost a case, you are likely talking to someone who has never tried a case. It is an inevitable and cruel reality of being a trial lawyer that you experiences both victories and losses. As most trial lawyers are extremely competitive people, losing a case is painful and results in legal scar tissue that apparently lasts forever. Ironically, it is this very scar tissue that the consuming public should seek out. The scar tissue represents the wisdom of experience. It demonstrates the years in the ring. Hopefully, it provides the breadth of experience that will help give better counsel to a client who appears to be approaching an important crossroad in their own legal batter. If you can whether the scar of a terrible loss and fight again uninhibited by the fear of repeating the experience, then you are truly a formidable advocate. We have certainly won and lost cases. While the wins are rewarding, the losses burn to this day. We can comfortably say that more has been learned from losing than from winning.So what is the point of this demi-rant? It is really twofold. One the one-hand, it is an expression of some frustration over those attorneys who claim the title “trial lawyer” without having earned the right through battle. On the other hand, it is cautionary tale to the consuming public to encourage anyone seeking legal services from an attorney to ask real questions. Do you try cases? Have you tried a case like mine? These are fair questions and no client should feel uncomfortable when hiring counsel to probe into the experience of the person behind the desk. After all, there may come a day when that person may have to get out from behind the desk and stand and deliver in a real courtroom. We’re sure you would like to know that they have done it before walking in with you. Also, having tried cases, a trial lawyer knows when a case should be litigated and tried and when it is prudent to settle a case without protracted litigation or not bring it all. A lawyer who blindly and recklessly says let’s go try a case, not try and work and mold the adversary’s thoughts about the case risks and rewards, is simply a fool and not a trial lawyer. The point is that a true trial lawyer knows when to recommend to a client to litigate or come to a different resolution.Eric Bland and Ronnie Richter