Know those attorneys who are all about going to trial? How many cases they’ve tried? How many times they’ve been in the courtroom?
The majority of cases don’t go to trial. So is it critical to have an attorney that boasts of nothing else than their trial experience?
It’s important to be well-rounded
I’ll bet, unless you’ve heard me say it in a commercial, that you didn’t know only 0.4% of all civil cases in the state of Florida actually go to jury trial.
Read that number again. Yep. Less than half of a percent. I bet you’re baffled, because all you ever hear about is the attorneys who will run, like bulls at red flags, fearlessly toward trial. (They also forget frequently to mention that such a sprint is frequently NOT in the client’s best interests. But that is a topic for another post on another day.)
Don’t get me wrong. A gifted trial lawyer’s passion and gravitas is respectable. But a well-rounded attorney has to be absolutely on her game and ready to handle so much more than a trial.
What did President Roosevelt say? Speak softly and carry a big stick? One could argue this applies here, in hopes that your attorney exercises intelligent forethought and decisive action far in advance of a trial.
Your attorney is more than their trial record
If I were retaining an attorney, I’d look for one with something in his or her arsenal other than fearless tenacity in a courtroom.
Fearless tenacity is scary. It is frequently reserved for the young bucks with something to prove and nothing but their clients’ money to lose.
If I ever walk fearlessly into a trial, I will know that I have lost my grip on reality – because my every thought is focused on what is in my client’s best interests, always.
In fact, I bet you didn’t know that it’s more than possible that an attorney gets his or her fees paid after a jury verdict but the client walks with nothing but a piece of paper saying “you’re owed money you’ll never be able to collect.” Possibly yet another topic for a different post.
Assess the overall attorney
So before you hire your attorney — sure, look at verdicts, successes, failures. But get to know the person who is supposed to be on your team, upholding your ideals and your ethics. Is this the person you want to tell your story, no matter where or when it is told?