Is your lawyer a trial attorney? This really matters!

A trial attorney is one that takes cases to trial, obvious, right? What’s not obvious is that not all lawyers will take cases to court. 

Don’t be misled by the myth that all lawyers go to court. There are plenty of lawyers who have lived and died without taking a single case to trial. There are no rules saying that just because you’re licensed to practice law in Virginia that you ever have to set foot in a courtroom. 

You may be wondering why finding an attorney who can take a case to court is so important. The answer is simple: it could cost you your settlement. 

You Want a Trial Attorney 

When you need to get a lawyer, you have to do your research. I advise clients to ask a ton of questions during their consultation with a potential lawyer, and one of my favorites is to ask about their trial experience. 

A good attorney who has taken cases to trial will be able to provide case results in which settlement negotiations with the insurance company necessitated a lawsuit and trial. Cases like these show that they’re not just an attorney, they’re a trial attorney, and they are willing and able to take cases to court should the need arise. 

The most successful Virginia lawyers I know are those who prepare every case as if it were definitely going to trial. This means there are no surprises if the insurance company low-balls your settlement and won’t budge on the amount. 

The next step here is to file a personal injury lawsuit, and a good attorney will have been preparing for this moment from day one of your client-attorney relationship, like our staff here at Ben Glass Law. While we’re talking about the client-attorney relationship, let me relate a little story I was privy to… 

Everyone Wants a Trial Attorney, Even Other Lawyers 

Why? Because as one Virginia lawyer admitted to me, he was deathly afraid of taking a case to court! 

A while back a fellow personal injury attorney came to me with a “great case” to “share” with me. Basically, he wanted me to take this case to trial for him and in return give him a portion of the fee. 

Upon reviewing the case, I found a big train wreck and barely a shred of evidence that would hold up in court. The injury had occurred six years prior, yet this lawyer had been sitting on the case for five years. There were no photographs, defendant depositions, or transcripts to use as evidence. 

No wonder this lawyer was afraid of taking cases to trial. He didn’t seem like he knew the first thing about preparing a good injury claim! The bizarre situation got me interested in this lawyer’s advertising.  When I found his ad I counted 14 “specialties” which included “serious auto accidents:” the type of practice area that attracted his client. 

I feel sorry for that client because he or she obviously was duped by deceptive lawyer advertising. This just proves my point that lawyers can advertise themselves as specialists for certain cases, but it doesn’t mean they’re prepared to handle them. 

Hiring the Right Lawyer for Your Case 

Even if a lawyer advertisement says that the attorney takes cases to court, you’re going to want solid proof he or she is truly a trial attorney. 

When you need to get a lawyer, you don’t have to trust the words in the ads. Schedule a consultation and ask for examples of the attorney’s trial history. If he or she hasn’t been to court, it’s time to move on to the next attorney. 

There are plenty of lawyers in Virginia from which to choose and knowing how to read lawyer advertisements can help make the process of selecting one much easier. Check out my free eBook, The Truth About Lawyer Advertising, for help. If you’d like to set up a consultation to discuss your case with a trial attorney at Ben Glass Law, call 703-584-7277.