Why Jury Verdicts Matter
Some tough decisions have to be made. You need a lawyer. A lot is riding on the outcome of this case. Losing would hurt—a lot.
What questions do you ask your potential attorneys about their skills and experience?
Here’s the number one rule: whether you expect a trial, or you just want the best possible out-of-court resolution, you want a trial attorney on your side. One who has a record of winning jury trials.
The lawyer who is known to be a true trial attorney also gets cases settled—often faster and on better terms. Why? Because the ability to try and win the case is the ultimate settlement leverage.
Lawyers who are capable of being lead counsel in an important trial are rarer than you might think. You may hear that a particular lawyer is “tough” or “aggressive” or maybe even a “mad dog.” Watch out. Clever marketing can create interesting labels, but your opponents will do their homework on your lawyer, and they will know if your lawyer is a real threat, or a poser.
Having been in the trenches with hundreds of lawyers—some of them great, and others not so great—we have learned hard lessons and have seen up close which lawyers effectively represent their clients’ best interests. We’ve also learned which lawyers spin their wheels in “litigation mode” running up fees and doing little to get a client out of a jam.
Lawyers who try cases, as opposed to those who “litigate” cases, have credibility. These are lawyers who have demonstrated, through actual pass-fail experience, that they have the nerve and ability to try cases to a conclusion when necessary, and who do so with a passion for excellence.
Experience in trying jury cases to a conclusion makes a lawyer better able to see the case not just from a client’s point of view, but also from a jury’s point of view and from the opposing side’s point of view. It is only when a lawyer understands the case with 360-degree situational awareness—of the parties, the judge, the jury the opponent and the witnesses—that he or she can be truly effective in representing clients.
So, when you’re choosing a lawyer, a record of jury verdicts matters. Until a lawyer has shown the courage to confront big challenges with enormous consequences, and can stand in front of you and say, “I know the stakes…I know the consequences of winning and losing…I know how to influence, to motivate—and yes, to excite a jury,” you will be talking to a litigator, not a trial attorney.
If you want your case to resolve favorably, with or without a trial, your trial attorney is your best asset.
© Mark Pierce 2018