Trial lawyers handle many of the functions of an attorney, and although they do argue cases in court, this is only a small percentage of their work on a daily basis. Due to ever-rising costs and court fees, trial lawyers should expect to do the majority of their work outside of the courtroom, fill out a variety of court-related documents, spend weeks and months reviewing potential clients and witnesses to interview, and meeting with other attorneys to discuss potential settlements for cases. Trial lawyers are also responsible for selecting jurors should their case go to trial, and they must always stay up-to-date with current laws and changes to laws as they occur. Strong verbal and written communication skills are also essential in this position.
Aspiring trial lawyers must have education in several key areas, such as criminal, courtroom, property, and constitutional law, and they must also study contract negotiations and civil and criminal procedures. They should have at least a bachelor's degree and have taken and passed both the LSAT and bar exam after completing law school, and many also continue their education throughout their careers as new laws and changes in court procedures are implemented throughout the country each year.
Trial Lawyer Tasks
Advise clients in business transactions, claim liablility, advisability of prosecuting or defending lawsuits or legal rights and obligations.
Select jurors, argue motions, meet with judges and question witnesses during the course of a trial.
Represent clients in court or before government agencies, present and summarize cases to judges and juries.
Gather evidence to formulate defense or to initiate legal actions; evaluate findings and develop strategies and arguments for presentation of cases.
Analyze and interpret laws, rulings and regulations with probable case outcomes for individuals and businesses.