What to look for in a trial lawyer?
Life can change drastically after you have been served with papers or you decide to sue someone for some wrong committed. It is rare that individuals represent themselves before the court. This is known as “pro se” representation. The other option that most individuals choose is to obtain a good trial lawyer. This also makes you wonder because you may not know what to look for in a trial lawyer and whether they are the lawyer to meet your needs.
Understanding some basics about lawyering skills will help you choose the lawyer that will fit your needs. No two trial lawyers are the same. They come to the scene with different backgrounds, knowledge, and skills. Where one shows strength in a certain area, the other may show weakness. However, the flip side can occur between two attorneys in another area of law or lawyering skills. There are lawyering skills that can come naturally to a lawyer. While other skills take time and practice. As we discuss, it will be clear what kinds of things will help you find the lawyer you are seeking.
There are certain qualities that you will want in trial lawyer. One of the first you should look for is social skills. You will want an attorney that has great people skills. Someone who can clearly communicate with you about the problems you face and the potential outcomes. Also, someone that is easy to talk to and treats you and your opinion as valuable.
Being able to openly communicate with the trial attorney is necessary for a chance to win the lawsuit. If the attorney is poor at communicating, it could cause problems, such as not following your wants and desires as you proceed with the case.
Another important attribute of a trial attorney is organizational skills. An attorney has to be organized, especially a trial lawyer, to truly advocate their clients position. A trial lawyer will have a lot on their plate at a time. This usually involves juggling multiple clients, negotiations, hearing, and many other tasks. To say the least, they are extremely busy. Thus, if they are not organized, essential parts of the case can be forgotten about or not fully advocated. Either of these could prove extremely detrimental to your case.
A lack of organization could destroy your chances of succeeding. This can easily occur if the attorney forgets to file at a certain deadline or does not give you the time to fully advocate your position because they are unorganized. Many lawyering skills are important. However, if the attorney is not organized it could cause you to lose everything. Some ways to tell if they are organized could be to ask others who have used the firm, see how the lawyer represents themselves in meeting, and whether they are on task or scatterbrained.
Also, being disorganized could hinder effective communication with you. You should ask the lawyer how you are going to promptly communicate with each other. As the client, you will want to know where the case is in the system and the details of the case.
Writing ability is not only important to effectively communicate to the other side and the court, but it is necessary, at times, to communicate with the client. Attorneys must have decent writing skills to express the minds of their client to the court. They must also be able to clearly explain the law in a manner that supports their clients case.
This skill in a way merges into effective communication/people skills because the written word as a lawyer may be just as important as the spoken word in a court setting. At times, lawyers will be asked to write informative and persuasive writings. They must be able to do both effectively in order to fully represent a client.
Lawyering and Trial Skills
Knowing the lay of the land and how to approach the judge, may be the deciding factor in being successful. A lawyer needs actual trial skills. These skills can include how to represent themselves before the judge, understanding the jury selection process, and being able to effectively communicate the case to judge and jury.
Confidence is a necessary tool for a trial lawyer to have. They face difficult tasks when in a trial. They need to be able to process quickly the attacks from opposing counsel and questions from the judge. A lot of times it will be these little things that swing a case in your favor. Being able to react quickly to ever changing circumstances is imperative. Judges will ask questions about the case or about law that the attorney has cited in their briefs. Being able to effectively respond to the judge’s questions and think critically on their feet will illustrate the effectiveness of their trial lawyer skills.
Additionally, a lawyering skill that is absolutely necessary is diligence and work ethic. Putting in the hours for a case is necessary to be successful. Often, cases will turn on the tiny details of case or statutory law. These tiny details of the law that will turn a case are usually only found after many hours of hard work. There also must be diligence in every step of the process. All the way from the first communications to arguing in court, if it gets that far.
Most times a case will not make it all the way to trial. It is rare for cases these days to make it to trial due to that fact that there are usually settlements sought and reached before the trial date. Another lawyering skill that needs to be observed is negotiations. A lawyer must be an effective negotiator during a pending case. As discussed above, most cases do not make it to trial, so most cases are determined by negotiating with opposing counsel.
Negotiating skills can help you get out of a case before trial with what you want from the case. Also, it will save you money because the case has ended, which means that the lawyer will not bill you for trial work. There should be a great deal of weight placed on finding the trial lawyer with excellent negotiating skills because this can produce results in a short amount of time, instead of wading through the difficult task of representing a case before jurors who are not experts in the law.
As you can see, there are many attributes that you need to look for in selecting a trial attorney to represent you. In this post, only a few of the necessary skills were discussed. However, if you can find an attorney with the above discussed skills, then you can be somewhat at peace knowing that your desires are being represented effectively.