When Anne says, “It taught me everything I know,” she is talking about how to try a case in front of a jury. “You learn the evidence rules. You learn to organize the evidence. You learn to think on your feet and there is no better grounds for training than the prosecutor’s office or the public defender’s office. We had to learn all of the predicate questions for experts. How to lay a foundation for the admissibility of evidence.”
The hardest part of the transition for Craig was learning all of the rules of civil procedure. “In criminal, whatever you’ve got, you’ve got to turn over to the other side, and whatever they’ve got, they’ve got to turn over to you. That’s it. There is one rule.” Looking back, Craig feels that criminal lawyers making the switch benefit from sitting down and just reading the entire code of civil procedure.
Jerry Spence started practicing law as a prosecutor, and later became a criminal defense lawyer. The main reason is that criminal lawyers are already great litigators. You already know how to question an adverse witness and try a case in front of a jury. However, the transition between the two areas of law can seem daunting.
The next generation of great plaintiff personal injury lawyers are working in the criminal courts right now. Former criminal lawyers make excellent civil trial attorneys because they have extensive jury trial experience. Having a comfort level in front of juries allows criminal lawyers to quickly take advantage of the settlement leverage, created when a trial date is assigned to a personal injury case.
Here are the top ten reasons why lawyers working in the criminal courts, including criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, JAG Corp officers, prosecutors and district attorneys, will become this country’s next generation of plaintiff personal injury lawyers.