Whats the difference between an Attorney and a Trial Attorney?

Whats the difference between an Attorney and a Trial Attorney?

The Difference Between Litigators and Trial Lawyers

The difference between litigators and trial lawyers primarily lies in their goals: while litigators aim to settle disputes, trial lawyers are looking for a legal confrontation. Litigators work towards finding the best negotiation strategy to settle a case out of court, while trial lawyers consider the best strategy to win over the jury or judge. From the start, a trial lawyer is looking toward a fight; litigators get as large a result as possible while avoiding a fight.

However, if litigation takes a turn and ends up going to trial, a litigator may need to call in a trial lawyer.

The Skills a Good Trial Lawyer Will Have

Most litigators specialize in an area of practice they’re most familiar with, whether that’s criminal codes for criminal litigators, property codes for insurance litigators, or commercial codes for business litigators. However, trial lawyers require a set of skills that transcend these codes.

These skills include:

  • Understanding how to pick jurors who will be sympathetic to their client’s cause.
  • Skillfully questioning witnesses in court to extract favorable evidence.
  • Eliciting key information from their own witnesses to strengthen their case.
  • Crafting persuasive opening and closing arguments.
  • An ability to think on their feet, deploying improvisational strategies as situations in the courtroom evolve.
  • Thriving under adversarial pressure, keeping a cool head when facing tough opposition.

Moreover, trial lawyers need to be well-versed in the ‘rules of the game,’ which are the practices that govern how a trial is conducted. These are not necessarily written in any legal code but are crucial to successfully trying a case. Some trial lawyers are also litigators, but the skills required of a trial lawyer are relatively rare in the legal community.