The Top Ten Unwritten Rules For New Plaintiff Personal Injury Lawyers

Some things they don’t teach you in law school – here are some tips to help you in your first few months as a plaintiff personal injury lawyer.

1.  It’s ok to be nice to your opposing counsel.

Collaborating with defense counsel to obtain the evidence they need to evaluate the case is one of the best ways to reach a prompt settlement.

2. You are a professional now, if you aren’t careful you can really screw up.

People are depending on you to do the right thing, make reasonable decisions and prosecute their case.

3.  You will screw up, but it’s not the end of the world as long as you admit your mistake quickly.

Most litigation mistakes can be fixed if caught and admitted to early.  If you make a mistake admit it, try and fix it, and move on.

4. Judges expect you to work most things out with opposing counsel without their involvement.

Judges only decide disputes, they don’t get involved if there is nothing to decide.

5.  The hardest part is getting the business, not knowing all the rules and laws.

But beware, you need to know the rules too.

6.  It’s a marathon, not a sprint, take care of yourself or you won’t last very long.

Lawyers tend to work way too much.  Learn to balance your work and your life.  Take care of yourself and your family.

7. Your opponent may be just as scared as you are about the case.

Don’t make any assumptions about weaknesses in your case.   The defense may see the case totally different than the voice of fear inside your head.

8.  Don’t forget to get to know your client.

The only way to really communicate a person’s damages is to get to know them as a real person.

9.  Most of your business will come from other lawyers.

For personal injury lawyers one of the best referral sources is estate planning lawyers.

10.  The work never ends, but you can still get everything done.

You just need to learn what’s important.  Find three or four senior plaintiff lawyers you can call at anytime for  advice.


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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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