Trial Attorneys vs. Litigators

"Time is the wisest counselor of all."
- Pericles

While this area of Law is called Business Litigation, a very common mistake parties make early (and seldom recover from) is hiring a litigator. Let me explain:

Litigation is the process of handling the paperwork relating to a lawsuit. In the last 20 or so years, the percentage of trial attorneys in the practice of law has been steadily declining.

Even when we proceed with a strategy to settle or avoid trial, because we have agreed with the client that is it in his or her own best interest, our trial experience gives us a tremendous advantage.

If the opposing party hires a litigator, he will not likely understand the legal issues from the point of view of a jury trial. While it is imperative that both sides understand the point(s) of law involved in a lawsuit, the additional understanding which only comes from addressing a jury completely escapes a litigator. Please don’t misunderstand. A good litigator understands what happens at trial (many have seen them), but that is like trying to learn to drive from the passenger’s seat of a car.

If you are a party to a lawsuit (or might become one), regardless of which party filed the suit, there are really only 4 scenarios, and they will very likely affect your result:

You hire a trial attorney who also litigates your case and the opposition hires a litigator. This is the best case scenario for you for the reasons outlined above. NOTE: This is most often our clients’ situation and we use it to our clients’ advantage time after time.

You hire a big firm trial attorney, who has a junior member of the large firm litigate the file for them, and gets involved if your matter actually goes to trial. This is just too much like hiring a litigator, except your costs are usually higher.

You hire a litigator and hope the opposition does not hire a trial attorney, which would be to the opposition’s advantage and more importantly your disadvantage. This is a risk that I would advise you NOT to take.

You hire a trial attorney (who litigates) and so does the other side. This would indicate that your opponent is smart and while this is most likely the fairest fight, in my experience, this scenario will likely lead to a more prompt resolution of the matter because both sides will be litigating from the same perspective….how the jury would view the points of law and actions of both parties.