ABC’s of Becoming A Successful Trial Lawyer from Day One


A. Embrace who you are. Do not try and become someone who you think you are supposed to be. For example if you are a calm reasonable person stay that way. It will serve you much better to stay true to your personality. Don’t try and turn yourself into an argumentative Mr. Tough Guy, because that’s the way Hollywood characterizes lawyers. If you are nice, then stay nice, and take advantage of the fact that you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

B. Being a trial lawyer is patriotic. There are hard working people in this country who need your skills. The legal document that guides our dispute resolution process is called the United State’s Constitution. It’s patriotic to stand up for the rights of people in court. The work trial lawyers do helps injured people obtain the resources they need to get back on their feet and become productive in the future.

C. There are not too many trial lawyers. Corporations want you to believe there are too many trial lawyers already. This is a myth perpetuated by a few large corporations who do not want to be held accountable in court. The reality is that there are not enough good lawyers willing to stand up for the rights of individuals in court.

D. Good trial lawyers do not compete with each other. In fact, we are each others greatest resource. Trial lawyers collaborate and work together on difficult cases and help find ways to help one another succeed. The American Association of Justice, the Consumer Attorneys of California, and the Attorneys Information Exchange Group all believe in success through sharing with each other and are constantly helping trial lawyers collaborate so our clients win.

E. You can be a great trial lawyer and not go to court all of the time. The day to day existence of a trial lawyer varies greatly depending on the individual path you chose to follow. The reality of day to day law practice, when you first start out, is convincing an insurance claims representative that you have a case. Think of the claims adjuster as the first juror you have to convince. This is done, by conducting a thorough investigation of the case, getting to know your client, and communicating your client’s loss to the adjuster with a well written settlement demand letter. A good percentage of your cases will resolve successfully using this process.

F. New trial lawyers lawyers partner up with more experienced lawyers and split any fees that result. These partnerships are especially common in the area of product liability and catastrophic personal injury cases. Because of the need to retain and prepare expert witnesses, these cases can be very expensive for new lawyers to take on. A new lawyer can team up with an experienced trial lawyer and learn how it’s done. The saying two heads are better than one almost always holds true when plaintiff lawyers work together on cases.

If you are interested in learning more about being a plaintiff personal injury lawyer, a “Trial Lawyer”, check out our four part free video series, which starts with “The ABC’s of Becoming a Successful Trial Lawyer From Day One.”


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In his 20 years of law practice, Al has handled more than 40 jury trials. This experience, combined with a commitment to ethics and integrity, has earned Al an excellent reputation throughout the San Francisco Bay Area legal community. He is the recipient of Martindale-Hubbell‘s “AV” peer rating, which signifies preeminent legal ability and ethical standards, and has been named a Northern California Super Lawyer every year since 2006. In 2009, Al was awarded the prestigious 2009 Civil Justice Award by the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association, given to attorneys who show integrity, grit, tenacity, ethics, and great advocacy skills, and who contribute to the betterment of consumers and/or injured victims and their families.

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