Roughly 95 percent of lawsuits are settled before going to trial. So why does having a lawyer with courtroom experience matter? Here are my top three reasons
One: Case Evaluation
- The question I’m asked most often by clients is how much their case is worth. Every single case is different, but ultimately the value of the case is determined by the amount of money you would expect a jury in your venue to award the plaintiff if the case goes to trial, taking into account the risk of an adverse verdict, the litigation expense necessary to get through trial, and the time value of money. A lawyer without actual courtroom experience bases his or her evaluation on trends or the relatively few published verdicts available. A lawyer that actually tries cases before judges and juries has a more reliable source of experience and information from which to draw when considering settlement offers. For example, an experienced trial lawyer is able to more accurately predict the litigation expense necessary to effectively present your case to a jury, how a judge will rule on the admissibility of a particular piece of evidence, and the range of jury awards you could expect based on the facts of your case.
Two: Reputation with Adversaries
- Lawyers know which lawyers try cases and which lawyers don’t. Lawyers hired by insurance companies to defend civil lawsuits, for obvious reasons, share that knowledge with the insurance company. If the insurance company knows the plaintiff’s lawyer has a reputation as a lawyer that does not try cases, it will be reflected in their settlement offers.
Three: Comfort in the Courtroom
- The courtroom can be an intimidating environment. Your lawyer’s job is to effectively present your case to a judge, and a jury that is unfamiliar with the process and the rules that govern trial. Becoming comfortable in that setting is something a lawyer can develop only through experience. Not all cases are resolved by settlement. If your case is one of the few that go to trial, you need the assurance of knowing that your lawyer has been there before and is not afraid to try your case. After twenty years litigating, and as a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), an invitation-only national organization of experienced trial lawyers dedicated to the preservation of the right to civil jury trials, and as a South Carolina Super Lawyer in the area of personal injury based on peer nomination and review, I have that experience.
The posts on this website/blog are published as a service to our clients and friends. They are intended to provide general information only and should not be construed to be formal legal advice regarding any specific situation and should not be construed as forming an attorney-client relationship. Success in the past does not indicate the likelihood of success in any future representation.
Blog post by attorney Wes Kissinger. Click here to read more about Wes.
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