Posted in Career Tips

Should You Pursue a Trial or Appellate Career? A must-read guide for aspiring lawyers!

Do you want to pursue a legal career but are unsure about the area you should specialize in? Are you aware of your options but are facing difficulty in deciding?

Surely there may be a million questions running through your mind so let’s just sort it out first!

First of all, you need to explore your options. Ask yourself this: do you want to try cases, or do you want to argue appeals? In other words, do you want to be a trial lawyer or an appellate lawyer?

Pros and Cons of becoming a Trial Lawyer

The most significant motivating factor for trial lawyers is that they get to assemble and design their own cases. Some people believe this is where the real creativity is. Apart from this, if you want to remain in the spotlight, then trials are the way to go (unless you’re interested in singing or dancing; which can’t really happen in the courtroom). It’s like the courtroom is your stage, and you’re the lead performer.

But that comes with immense pressure.

Sure, building a record on your own may be interesting and fun, but it has its drawbacks too: creating a record from scratch can be quite tedious and time-consuming. Not only this, but it is also hard to assemble a record without enduring the flipside — discovery — which can be quite a drawback itself.

Not only this, some trial lawyers actually become machines. They have to work day and night, without a break – even if they really need one. As per a lawyer, trials are incredibly stressful and leave you sleep-deprived. So it can be said that trials have a thrill only if you’re willing to take on all this pressure!

Therefore, we wouldn’t recommend doing this in the long run. We believe that you can instead channel this time and energy into something more useful; let’s say in arguing an appeal?

What is so special about Appellate Practice?

Becoming an Appellate Lawyer has several advantages. To be among the Appellate attorneys, you do not have to spend days, or even months, going through hundreds of documents or listening to testimonies (all of which may turn out to be useless in the end), or play incasilly games that pretrial work requires – someone else would have already done all of that for you.

Some people may argue that it is a tedious job – a job which does not encourage you to think on your own – however, that is not true. Best Appellate attorneys consider the importance of designation and work to craft an adequate appellate argument, which is an art in itself. Crafting those arguments may involve sifting through a smaller sandbox than creating the entire trial court record, but it’s not necessarily a boring sandbox. It includes many interesting tasks such as thinking about the standard of review; selecting arguments that are worth making; identifying obscure legal issues, and preparing and delivering a persuasive oral argument.  Appellate work may offer plenty of stuff which requires creative skills. Appellate attorneys get their facts straight –they offer you more than the surface analysis of the situation.

Let’s also not forget the peaceful work environment – appellate work does not require many hands. Therefore, lawyers work in small groups which helps them develop interpersonal skills and focus on the small details. Some people believe that due to this reason, appellate lawyers do not make big; but we tend to disagree. Our team consists of professionals that have had their big break quite a few times!

Becoming a trial lawyer has its pros, sure, but are you more interested in working as a machine all your life, or do you want a life where you look forward to enjoying work every day? Think wisely!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

William Ward

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William Ward is the chief content editor and copywriter at Brown Stone Law Firm. He is best known for his informative law-related blogs and articles about the trends of the law industry and how one cope up various law challenges. He has been regularly publishing various blogs on multiple law-related topics which are frequently asked.

Posted in Career Tips

6 Tips That Will Help You Improve as A Personal Injury Lawyer

Personal injury attorneys deal with the aftermath of injuries, accidents and disasters. They want to improve the world and bring justice to the hurting. They too often ignore the opportunities to improve themselves and their law firms, despite the benefits this brings. Here are 6 tips that will help you improve as a personal injury lawyer.

Choose Your Clients Wisely

Too many personal injury lawyers take any case in the hope of winning it. You should actually apply standards to your clients and require them to do the same. For example, you shouldn’t take on frivolous lawsuits unless you want to get a reputation for being that type of attorney. And stay away from the people who file lawsuits against every business in town for minor regulatory issues.

Master the Back Office

Too many personal injury law firms dedicate time and attention to recruiting clients but ignore the back office. They don’t manage cases well, so they miss critical deadlines or rush to meet them. They don’t use legal accounting software and maintain the books correctly, though personal injury lawyers, in particular, get hit with penalties if they mismanage trusts for disabled clients.

This is aside from the tragic mistake of law firms failing to track billable hours and follow up on collections, creating cash crunches that sometimes kill law firms.

Treat Everyone with Professionalism

If you yell at a court clerk, they’re not going to give paperwork related to your case their best effort. It’s important that you learn how to act in court for your benefit and for your clients as well. In a worst-case scenario, things are lost or misplaced conveniently, to your detriment. Then there’s the fact that the judge may be inclined against you for finding out you mistreated a clerk or made a rude remark to the bailiff.

Be Respectful

Don’t forget to treat witnesses and clients with the utmost respect. You don’t want the headlines to read that you verbally abused an alleged victim in court. If you personally attack an expert witness instead of their expertise or the source they’re using, you’ll certainly never get them to come to your defense when you need their expertise.

Be Realistic

If you make inflated claims as to your success rate or the payment a client may receive, you may secure their business. However, you guarantee a disappointed client even if you win the case and ensure negative online reviews if you don’t win. Manage expectations from the odds of winning to what the person would receive. Respond in a timely fashion to client communications, but don’t promise them day or night if you’re not actually going to answer a 6 AM phone call. If you have a bad case that will probably lose if you go to trial, encourage the client to take a settlement so they at least get something instead of promising to fight until you can’t anymore.

Don’t Believe Everything You See on the Internet

As a lawyer, you have to have a good dose of scepticism if you want to be successful. Just because something is on the internet, doesn’t make it true. In fact, a British man was recently proven innocent by Facebook messages that his sister in law found after he’d served several years in prison. The lawyers for the other side accepted altered images of the “conversation” and presented it as evidence, and the accused attorney accepted them as fact.

In reality, there was a whole conversation regarding emotional pain from the breakup after which he apologized for her emotional distress; she altered the messages to prove her case. Just because someone presents texts or social media posts as evidence does not mean they should not be vetted.

Then there is the fact that doctored images and biased blog posts are frequently posted on the internet, though they may be treated as evidence by attorneys and the public. The last thing you want to do is have your client’s disability case derailed because someone else used their picture on a dating website while talking about a love of swimming and surfing.

All these tips should help you become a better lawyer and gain a solid reputation in your field of practice. Make sure that you take the time to develop these traits if you want to be successful and bring more clients to your firm.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Thomas G Ferrini

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Thomas G Ferrini is a partner at WBTB law firm, established in 1987, located in Dover, New Hampshire. He has years of experience in personal injury cases and have gained a solid reputation in the community and has recovered millions of dollars in awards for his clients. He enjoys sharing his knowledge on law blogs.