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Pros and Cons of Being a Trial Lawyer

By William Vogeler, Esq. | Last updated on

Pointing out the pros and cons of being a trial lawyer is like pointing out the best and worst flavors at Baskin Robbins.

There are so many choices and everybody has a favorite. Maybe you like peanut butter chocolate, but the next guy is allergic to it.

So it is with the best and worst parts about being a trial lawyer because there are many kinds of trials. I'm gonna go with rocky road.

Pro No. 1 -- Real Lawyers Try Cases

Lawyers know instinctively that real lawyers go to court. Of course, there are worthy workers at the law office. But it's like the difference between English solicitors and barristers -- barristers get to wear the wig.

The real pros, the trial lawyer you wanna be, win. Gerry Spence, for example, claimed that he never lost a case. That's why he could write a book called "How to Argue and Win Every Time."

Pro No. 2 -- Trial Lawyers Can Get Rich

If you really want to ring the bell, forget going in-house for stock options at a tech startup. Sure, you could make big money -- Uber is hiring, by the way -- but your success will depend on the company's success.

In the courtroom, it's all on you. And the potential to win big at trial is better than winning the lottery because you will earn it. Just look at trial lawyers Richard Scruggs and Joe Jamail; Money magazine said they each were worth $1.7 billion.

Con No. 1 -- No Rest for the Wicked

Scruggs, Money's richest lawyer, also earned a jail sentence for trying to "influence a judge." Money isn't the root of all evil, but there is an underbelly to the unrestrained pursuit of justice, or, uh, money.

Trial lawyers sometimes do that -- bend the rules in pursuit of a win -- like William Lerach, a very wealthy attorney who pleaded guilty to a kickback scheme in class actions.

Con No. 2 -- No Rest for the Trial Lawyer

Every trial lawyer has fitful nights. If not the day before a trial, it's while waiting for a verdict. Or maybe it happens after the judge hands you a ruling out of left field.

You can regulate the tension in the courtroom with better preparation, but that process can deprive you of sleep as well. It's that rocky part of the road to being a trial lawyer.

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