Recently, an article published on a blog for attorneys suggested that the odds are against the injured plaintiff when going to trial – 61% to 39%. However, what the author fails to take into account is the experience level of the Trial Lawyer.
If these trial results were grouped based upon the experience level and training of the plaintiffs’ lawyers, I suspect that the results would be profoundly different.
In conducting this survey, the author should have asked the plaintiffs’ lawyers the following questions:
- “How many jury trials have you conducted on behalf of injured individuals?”
- “What is your Martindale-Hubbell Rating?”
- “What national seminars on jury psychology or jury selection have you attended?”
- “What memberships do you hold in local and national trial lawyers’ societies?
- “What’s your participation level in these local and national societies?”
- “What’s the last book you read on trial strategy?”
- “To what extent do you use jury verdict data in your case evaluations?”
And guess what? Clients should ask these same questions when considering which lawyer they should hire!
The skill level and experience required to obtain a personal injury verdict is grossly underestimated in our society. Perhaps this impression is due to the high visibility of lawyers that advertise on the back of the phonebook and TV. These hokey depictions of trial lawyers are far from the honorable and sophisticated Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird. Or, perhaps this impression is related to the relentless propaganda from the insurance industry about how juries are out of control. I’ve heard one defense lawyer describe representing an injury victim to be like picking up found money. Maybe that’s why so many profoundly inexperienced lawyers take these cases to trial and lose them.
An effective trial lawyer must be intelligent, articulate, presentable, organized, hard-working, compassionate and empathetic. But, above all else, a trial lawyer must believe in the cause; must believe in the societal importance of holding careless individuals and corporations responsible for the injuries and suffering that they inflict; and must understand that the ultimate goal is making our society a safer place to live, play and raise our children.