Any particular areas of law more likely to result in trial action? I am junior commercial litigator and want to build trial skills. Are there some areas I should avoid / pursue? E.g. I have done more employment work bc rate sensitive so I get more responsibility, but no trial action yet.

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Tell your group leaders that you want to do trials, regardless of the type. Believe me, that’s pretty rare. Ask if there’s any cases that are likely to go that need junior help. We often have trouble staffing trials because everyone is suddenly really busy when they get a call. Also if you have it, check for opportunities in pro Bono. That’s usually a good chance for trial experience, especially at larger firms.

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Interesting...thank you.

Family law is great for court experience.

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The above all makes sense but if you want to first chair civil jury trials, plaintiffs PI is the way to go. Good defense lawyers (under the age of like 52) who try a lot of cases are truly a dying breed. Clients are become much more risk averse and cost conscious and settling pretty much everything. I have managed to get some trial experience but nothing like mr friends on the plaintiffs side. In a few years down the line, they’ll be bashing my head in in court on a regular basis. Defense is breeding paper pushing wimps while the plaintiffs are mobilizing armies of absolute killers in the court room. The nuclear verdicts speak for themselves.

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Apart from pro bono stuff, try to get in with your arbitration group. They are much more likely to go to a full hearing and the basic trial skills are transferable.

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That’s usually so. International arb is VERY different from domestic commercial arbitration and the skills aren’t really very transferable.

Medical malpractice. We have 4 to 6 trials slated for 2021, assuming the Courts open.

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The legal system is increasingly becoming more like the British system. We don’t have a set distinction like they do (solicitor vs barrister), but most US lawyers (even “litigators”) don’t try cases. They do discovery and get a case ready for trial. They may be very good at it. But they tend to hand off main responsibility for a trial ready case to someone who does trials. I wonder if that’s necessarily a bad thing. There’s just far fewer trials then there used to be, for many valid reasons. The system just doesn’t need as many trial specialists as it did years ago. Definitely makes you understand why the bar freaks out whenever people discuss limiting discovery. People claim it’s because of getting to the truth. It’s really the meal train.

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Hard to get real trial experience in commercial lit/defense firms. If you really want to cut your teeth doing trial work you probably have to look to plaintiff’s side. Most defense lawyers will never try more than 20 cases their entire career. I try that many in 3 years. Before everyone jumps on me, there are always exceptions.

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I cut my teeth trying employment cases, back when they went to trial all the time. Now they rarely do, for a variety of reasons. Your best bet is to find an active trial lawyer and attach yourself to his or her hip. What kind of firm do you work at and what do you know about who there actually tries cases?

One of my mentors starting out was a very accomplished trial lawyer. Tried major disputes in all areas for 50 years. One piece of advice he gave me was take 10 minutes each day and just read a rule (whether FRCP, FRE or CPLR). They’re pretty short and fairly straight forward and if you make it a habit eventually they become second nature. Many kids don’t even take procedure or evidence in law school unless required and you need to know the rules cold if you want to do this job well. Might seem obvious but really was extremely helpful advice.

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IP disputes, mass/toxic torts

Are you at a large firm? A few very sporadic areas come to mind (mind you I am only a mid level): (1) white collar crime (not regulatory investigations, but criminal proceedings); (2) shareholder derivative actions (move really quickly and involve a lot of small trials (often in chancery courts); (3) IP (I have no personal experience with this but this is what I’ve heard from some IP friends.

There is also a lot of non-large law firm stuff that gets you into Court a lot: family law, criminal defense, medical malpractice, etc.

Areas to avoid: I’d say by and large class actions. Maybe it’s different for mass tort (I imagine it is) but in antitrust and securities they pretty much never make it trial.

Yes at big firm. This helpful; thank you. Shareholder derivative actions would be very cool. White collar seems okay, but prone to fire drills and very fact/investigation heavy - i.e., less brief writing. If I pursued white collar I feel the regulatory investigations would be a necessary evil of the criminal proceedings work. I would also think client would want partner in court for a criminal matter. That said, I’m not totally opposed. I still think IP might be best option.

Insurance defense, workers comp defense, criminal, family law all come to mind. High volume defense work tends to have a fair amount of trials. Also, they pay well enough because suffering.

Products liability, premises liability, and auto tort get trial experience. I would recommend going to a small to mid size Plaintiff's or Defense firm if you want in the courtroom.

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