path to trial law

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utlaw2007
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Re: path to trial law

Postby utlaw2007 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 7:54 am

Jeremyl wrote:
fatduck wrote:he said go to a good school and join the interscholastic mock trial team. sounds like good advice to me.


I agree with that advice, but he didn't actually say that though. But my question was basically where do you draw the line at trying to balance theory and practical education. Baylor obviously has better practical training, which utlaw007 seemed so keen on, but it lacks a fully theoretical curriculum (although I think utlaw overlooks the fact that Baylor does in fact have theoretical classes). I still refuse to believe having a theoretical approach outweighs a practice oriented education, when the student wants to gain experience so that they can actually practice in a courtroom immediately after graduation. But what do I know? I'm just a law student. I bow to the superior intellect of the solo with 5 full trials under his belt


See me when when you graduate. And let's see just how good you are in the courtroom. You are dense, dude. Refuse to believe it if you want. Let's see, how much money have you made as a trial lawyer? Trying family law cases or automobile accidents is just as hard as suing major manufacturers in complex products liability cases or cases with similar difficulty like patent infringement and employment discrimination. Yeah, that makes complete sense.

Have you ever had an bio mechanical engineer expert turn your case down because there is no merit, but when you explain the complex theory of your case he changes his mind and says, "you are a great trial lawyer!" Has that happened to you?

Have you ever talked to an expert bio mechanical engineer at one of the most reputable bio mechanical engineering firms in Texas and have proceeded to poke holes in his take on the incident that he acknowledged were there? And the holes I poked involved the ACTUAL SCIENCE.

So my 5 trials is an indicator of my skills. I guess that's why I won the very first trial I was in against a lawyer with 30 years of litigation experience. I won that trial because I'm a noob. Makes sense. Like I said, you're dense.

As I said before, if you aren't a trial lawyer, I'm going to ignore any point of contention you have with what I said. I've given more time than I should to people who know nothing about trial law. If you are a trial lawyer and disagree, than we'll talk. Just know that many of the things I say have been reinforced by lawyers with 20+ years trial experience. They have TONS of cases under their belt. So I guess they are noobs, too.

So if anyone says something completely ignorant from here on out, they will be ignored by me. You are a hater, dude. Keep hatin for all I care.
Last edited by utlaw2007 on Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:41 am, edited 6 times in total.

utlaw2007
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Re: path to trial law

Postby utlaw2007 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:03 am

Veyron wrote:Would your advice be different for a trial lawyer on the criminal side?


My advice would be the same. Just make sure you take criminal procedure and participate in your school's criminal defense clinic.

One of the keys to criminal law is getting the case dismissed or charges reduced before it ever gets close to trial. It helps to be likable because better plea deals are often had because of that. It sounds crazy, but it's true. But knowing how to get charges dismissed early because you have a thorough knowledge of criminal law and procedure is invaluable. But being able to think outside the box and crafting a very good theory of your case is what will give you leverage to get a great plea or even win at trial if you are defending a serious felony case.

utlaw2007
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Re: path to trial law

Postby utlaw2007 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:31 am

By the way, U of H and SMU produce much better trial lawyers than Baylor and South Texas, as well. Yet, Baylor and South Texas pride themselves on their advocacy programs. SMU and Houston do not. This is why it's silly to buy into the hype of something instead of looking at the final product. Advocacy is not big at UT. Most UT Law students don't do advocacy. So the school is not known for it. But that hardly means that the advocacy program at UT is inferior to the ones at Baylor and South Texas.

Maybe I wasn't clear enough the first time. Trial law can be broken down to two components. Each component is as important as the other. The first component may actually be more important since it is relied upon more and gives you more leverage in settlement negotiations. But the first component is crafting your theory of the case. Crafting a great theory and then getting evidence to support it is super important. If you can't craft a great theory, you will have a hard time winning. If the case is easy enough, you still should be able to win if you have good presentations skills. If the case is hard, you will surely lose.

The second prong is presenting your case. That's where trial skills come into play. The ability to do this is COMPLETELY independent of where you go to law school. Baylor and South Texas have formulaic ways of presentation in mock trials. But that stuff doesn't work in practice because a jury will see right through it. However, if a Baylor, South Texas, or any grad has good presentation because of good fundamentals that should be taught in EVERY mock trial program and talent to present, that person will have the presentation part down.

The quality of the school comes into play in the ability to craft a great theory/argument for your case. That part is all cerebral, whereas the presentation is not.
Last edited by utlaw2007 on Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:45 am, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: path to trial law

Postby utlaw2007 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:34 am

I don't know why it quoted a response. I didn't mean to respond here.

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SaintsTheMetal
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Re: path to trial law

Postby SaintsTheMetal » Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:39 am

utlaw2007 wrote:
Veyron wrote:Would your advice be different for a trial lawyer on the criminal side?


My advice would be the same. Just make sure you take criminal procedure and participate in your school's criminal defense clinic.

One of the keys to criminal law is getting the case dismissed or charges reduced before it ever gets close to trial. It helps to be likable because better plea deals are often had because of that. It sounds crazy, but it's true. But knowing how to get charges dismissed early because you have a thorough knowledge of criminal law and procedure is invaluable. But being able to think outside the box and crafting a very good theory of your case is what will give you leverage to get a great plea or even win at trial if you are defending a serious felony case.


Just a 0L here. If at this point I'm interested in litigation, although more to the criminal side; but also possibly interested in pursuing a Biglaw job for a while, or even patent litigation (physics undergrad,) how early does one need to really pick a direction between these. Is it something you really need to be conscious of when looking for your 1L summer job, or is it possible to overlap these areas much.

Also is it unheard of for someone to move from Biglaw to being a litigator at a small firm, i.e. criminal defense

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Tanicius
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Re: path to trial law

Postby Tanicius » Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:17 am

utlaw2007 wrote:Let me say something and this needs to be said. I find it completely asinine that someone with absolutely no experience and education in advocacy and no experience in a real courtroom would get on my thread and give advice about trial law. If you are going to say ANYTHING about trial law by posing as an expert, please state your years of practice experience as a trial lawyer and where you went to law school. South Texas has a better advocacy program than UT Law, PERCEPTION WISE, but it is NOT BETTER. Those programs at South Texas and Baylor are programs designed to win mock trial competitions. They are not designed to translate effectively into practice. I'm not going to debate this point with someone who has zero years of trial experience. I just don't want those that are trying to get info on this board to be misinformed.



You're making huge sweeping, definitive statements about "trial law" and causal generalizations about schools' entire curricula as if a year and a half of practice is what it takes to pull the wool from your eyes and allow you these ginormous insights. You've been practicing in one area, you went to one school, you competed on one school's program in one kind of national competition (of which there are no less four in law school alone, all with their own rules, styles, and strategies). If you don't want people to be misinformed, don't make ridiculous statements. Winning at mock trial doesn't mean a program's advocacy program is tailored for the competition rather than real practice. I've been in the advocacy game for a long time. Met a lot of talented people doing all kinds of trial-heavy work, the majority of them never having attended schools that focus on "theory." Others have and yet still speak highly of institutions like Baylor. With your one and a half years you can say these folks are all idiots, but don't mind if others disagree. The reason their praise for a school like Baylor should fall on deaf ears isn't because Baylor is a bad school, but because it's unlikely to give the same chances of employment as a school like UT. That is it.

Says the person who made the profound comment and insult is if I'm too dang stupid to know whether a person was saying something to me out of kindness as if I'm a twelve year old kid or genuineness.


Wasn't an insult. You're excited to talk about yourself and your practice - we get it. Inevitably, though, when the subject matter is about you, if someone questions or disagrees with you then you're going to have a hard-to-kick tendency to take it personally.
Last edited by Tanicius on Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

005618502
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Re: path to trial law

Postby 005618502 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 11:39 am

TyrionLannister wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote:If you want to be a good trial lawyer, you HAVE to have charisma and charm. If you don't, no matter how smart or proficient you are, you better choose another area of law to practice. Or you better hope that every trial lawyer you go up against is just as dry as you are. If you can't speak/relate to that jury, but your opponent can, you're sunk. This isn't appellate practice. This is trial practice. This is the prime reason why big law firms usually get their asses kicked in the courtroom when facing a charismatic trial lawyer who can say his ABC's backwards. He doesn't have to be that smart. He just can't lack intellect altogether.


Thanks for taking the time to write such a complete response to my last round of questions. As someone transitioning into the legal field from acting - charisma, charm, and ability to perform under pressure are my greatest advantages over the next person. I had considered a focus towards being a trial lawyer, and you are doing a fine job of convincing me that my instincts are dead on. I was hoping you could paint a picture of the income and hours of your specialty. Obviously, life gets more hectic around "game day", when you are actively at trial, but can you give a sense of hours work/billed for a trial lawyer? Equal to typical Biglaw jobs? What is your typical compensation for the work that you do? Flat fee or percentage? How did you first set a price for your skills? Is there a market rate/scale that you generally charge depending on a lawyer's level of experience? Best case scenario, what is the likely annual net income for a trial lawyer?

Sorry if the answers to these questions are hard to provide because of the broad spectrum of specialties, experience, and demand for different lawyers. Anything you could offer about what a successful trial lawyer makes and the hours he works would be great.

Thanks again! Great thread.


You still havent answered this. Curious as to what kind of income you are looking at. Is it all directly linked to how much you work?

Was biglaw or midlaw an option for you? I know you said you intereviewed with some firms and didnt like the feel. Most people I know (I know quite a few solo pract.) who went staright solo didnt have the grades to get biglaw. If you could have.... Why did you not go biglaw or midlaw right out of school for a few years to pay down loans and have some guaranteed income/job security? Are you making close to what you would have made in biglaw?

Going solo sounds exciting, but very risky. How did you go about obtaining your first clients?

Jeremyl
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Re: path to trial law

Postby Jeremyl » Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:49 pm

Haha whoa. I think utlaw has some anger issues or maybe some self-esteem issues.

But all in all, i couldn't agree more with Tanicius. He said it best

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TyrionLannister
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Re: path to trial law

Postby TyrionLannister » Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:36 pm

I have no dog in this Baylor vs. UT fight, but I do have an honest question for all involved.

Currently, Stetson is ranked #1 in trial advocacy programs by USNWR. They also list the median income for graduates in the private sector at only $60000. Yikes. What qualifications would place a school on this list? Money dedicated to the program? Competition victories? Esteemed professors/mentors? What would Stetson have that the 100+ schools ranked above them do not? It seems odd that the only T14 to make the list was NU. Why is this #1 advocacy program not cranking out lawyers making more money?

What is this advocacy program ranking for, and how does it translate into marketable lawyering skills? What would a Stetson/Temple/Baylor/Loyola/etc (going off names on the list) have that a student from HYS would not?

Total 0L noob, just wondering.

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Re: path to trial law

Postby 005618502 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:39 pm

TyrionLannister wrote:I have no dog in this Baylor vs. UT fight, but I do have an honest question for all involved.

Currently, Stetson is ranked #1 in trial advocacy programs by USNWR. They also list the median income for graduates in the private sector at only $60000. Yikes. What qualifications would place a school on this list? Money dedicated to the program? Competition victories? Esteemed professors/mentors? What would Stetson have that the 100+ schools ranked above them do not? It seems odd that the only T14 to make the list was NU. Why is this #1 advocacy program not cranking out lawyers making more money?

What is this advocacy program ranking for, and how does it translate into marketable lawyering skills? What would a Stetson/Temple/Baylor/Loyola/etc (going off names on the list) have that a student from HYS would not?

Total 0L noob, just wondering.


Individual rankings dont mean anything. I dont know why people cite these bogues rankings.

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Tanicius
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Re: path to trial law

Postby Tanicius » Fri Jun 01, 2012 2:44 pm

TyrionLannister wrote:I have no dog in this Baylor vs. UT fight, but I do have an honest question for all involved.

Currently, Stetson is ranked #1 in trial advocacy programs by USNWR. They also list the median income for graduates in the private sector at only $60000. Yikes. What qualifications would place a school on this list? Money dedicated to the program? Competition victories? Esteemed professors/mentors? What would Stetson have that the 100+ schools ranked above them do not? It seems odd that the only T14 to make the list was NU. Why is this #1 advocacy program not cranking out lawyers making more money?

What is this advocacy program ranking for, and how does it translate into marketable lawyering skills? What would a Stetson/Temple/Baylor/Loyola/etc (going off names on the list) have that a student from HYS would not?

Total 0L noob, just wondering.



Trial skills just aren't what the majority of firms look for. The odds you'll last long enough at a firm to become a relevant trial attorney are so slim that for them it's just not worth the investment. Most of their cases never go to trial; of those that do, fifth year associates are lucky to conduct the depositions, let alone argue anything more sophisticated than a motion in court. Small firms may prefer people with trial skills, but usually they have their choice of people who are experienced, and they would rather hire a good trial attorney with experience in things besides just trial because it's a more reliable investment and it avoids the hassle of teaching the ropes to newbies.

There's also school prestige, of course. Hard to measure that factor's weight.

utlaw2007
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Re: path to trial law

Postby utlaw2007 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:34 pm

Tanicius wrote:
TyrionLannister wrote:I have no dog in this Baylor vs. UT fight, but I do have an honest question for all involved.

Currently, Stetson is ranked #1 in trial advocacy programs by USNWR. They also list the median income for graduates in the private sector at only $60000. Yikes. What qualifications would place a school on this list? Money dedicated to the program? Competition victories? Esteemed professors/mentors? What would Stetson have that the 100+ schools ranked above them do not? It seems odd that the only T14 to make the list was NU. Why is this #1 advocacy program not cranking out lawyers making more money?

What is this advocacy program ranking for, and how does it translate into marketable lawyering skills? What would a Stetson/Temple/Baylor/Loyola/etc (going off names on the list) have that a student from HYS would not?

Total 0L noob, just wondering.



Trial skills just aren't what the majority of firms look for. The odds you'll last long enough at a firm to become a relevant trial attorney are so slim that for them it's just not worth the investment. Most of their cases never go to trial; of those that do, fifth year associates are lucky to conduct the depositions, let alone argue anything more sophisticated than a motion in court. Small firms may prefer people with trial skills, but usually they have their choice of people who are experienced, and they would rather hire a good trial attorney with experience in things besides just trial because it's a more reliable investment and it avoids the hassle of teaching the ropes to newbies.

There's also school prestige, of course. Hard to measure that factor's weight.


I've had a very busy day. I still will plan on answering this question as soon as I have time. I've only had a chance to vaguely go over some posts. But think there was question asked about whether firms care about your trial skills coming out of law school. The answer is no they do not. They only care about your trial skills after you are 5+ years in the game. Sure, there are really small firms that will let you try cases. I have two law school classmates that have tried lots of cases with absolutely no experience whatsoever. But it's not common. It really just depends on the firm. But I've only seen really small firms let young lawyers try cases with little experience. It happens, but there is no hard and fast rule.

I wouldn't pay attention to any specialty ranking lists.

Just so you all know, my commenting on trial practice with such little experience is absolutely no different than a 1L offering law school advice on this board. I'm giving some insight. But much of what I say comes from very experienced trial lawyers. I'm also relaying to you what they have told me. There's no way a trial lawyer with 20 years experience is going to come on this board and give his/her insights. This board is for people looking for advice. My ability to give advice is no different from any young lawyer or young law student who has given advice. I'm trying to give you my perspective. It's my perspective.

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Re: path to trial law

Postby utlaw2007 » Fri Jun 01, 2012 8:45 pm

SaintsTheMetal wrote:
utlaw2007 wrote:
Veyron wrote:Would your advice be different for a trial lawyer on the criminal side?


My advice would be the same. Just make sure you take criminal procedure and participate in your school's criminal defense clinic.

One of the keys to criminal law is getting the case dismissed or charges reduced before it ever gets close to trial. It helps to be likable because better plea deals are often had because of that. It sounds crazy, but it's true. But knowing how to get charges dismissed early because you have a thorough knowledge of criminal law and procedure is invaluable. But being able to think outside the box and crafting a very good theory of your case is what will give you leverage to get a great plea or even win at trial if you are defending a serious felony case.


Just a 0L here. If at this point I'm interested in litigation, although more to the criminal side; but also possibly interested in pursuing a Biglaw job for a while, or even patent litigation (physics undergrad,) how early does one need to really pick a direction between these. Is it something you really need to be conscious of when looking for your 1L summer job, or is it possible to overlap these areas much.

Also is it unheard of for someone to move from Biglaw to being a litigator at a small firm, i.e. criminal defense


It's not unheard of for a biglaw lawyer to move to a smaller firm. I have a law school classmate that left Susman Godfrey to work at a catastrophic personal injury firm.

It really depends on what you want to do. I haven't heard of someone leaving biglaw for a criminal defense firm. But that doesn't mean it's not possible. I, personally, don't think they overlap. If you want biglaw, you have to decide that early in school. If you want to do anything else, you can decide that later. I've seen lawyers leave criminal law after practicing for like 5 years to go work for a midlaw civil firm. They are not entirely mythical. There's just not many of them. Those firms hired them because of their trial experience. I don't see any reason why this can't be reversed although a criminal defense firm really does want you to have a lot of knowledge about criminal defense. That's what I've seen.

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Wily
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Re: path to trial law

Postby Wily » Sat Jun 02, 2012 8:13 pm

Thanks for the advice UTlaw!

Going back to what he was saying about charisma being really important, I just want to echo that from my experiences working as a paralegal in a small firm. My boss went to a now-infamous TTT 30 years ago, but he still manages to more than hold his own in trials against lawyers from V100 firms in the employment discrimination field. I've seen him in action against T14-grads who are on the defendant's side in depositions and court hearings and he tears them up pretty well. He's definitely got the charisma to win million dollar verdicts in jury trials, as I've seen just recently.

Where my boss is lacking in is perhaps in the theoretical/legal research background, as he leans heavilyon the junior associates to do the research and write motions, and frankly says he's forgotten a lot of the law outside of the niche he practices. UTlaw, who went to a good law school, probably has both the charisma and the theoretical education down, which probably explains his success.

One additional point to make is that it seems that most top law school grads only go solo out of desperation due to bad grades/luck, not by choice. UTlaw seems to be an exception, though.

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Re: path to trial law

Postby wurst » Tue Jun 05, 2012 10:13 pm

I have a question for utlaw2007. How much equity do you think a lawyer with a few years of trial experience would need to start their own firm? I am not in this position. I am just curious. Thank you!

utlaw2007
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Re: path to trial law

Postby utlaw2007 » Thu Jun 07, 2012 10:43 pm

I haven't forgot about you guys. I will answer your questions shortly. I've just had an extremely busy week!

005618502
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Re: path to trial law

Postby 005618502 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 9:44 am

Thanks for taking these questions. If you dont mind, when you get back could you talk about $$$? As much as you are comfortable doing it at least. I am curious what someone can kind of expect going straight out on their own. Does it just basically depend on how much hustle you have? Do you have enough work that if you wanted to work 70 hours a week you could? Do most?

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Re: path to trial law

Postby Gandalf205 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 2:08 pm

utlaw is born and bred for success and charisma, apparently.

I know this guy seemed like a good resource, but how has only one other poster picked up on how ridiculous his responses have become?

One question about a competing regional school and he goes ballistic? Every post after the first has become less sensical and more arrogant. Thanks for the info, utlaw, but thanks more for the lolz.

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Re: path to trial law

Postby vamedic03 » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:23 pm

Gandalf205 wrote:utlaw is born and bred for success and charisma, apparently.

I know this guy seemed like a good resource, but how has only one other poster picked up on how ridiculous his responses have become?

One question about a competing regional school and he goes ballistic? Every post after the first has become less sensical and more arrogant. Thanks for the info, utlaw, but thanks more for the lolz.


^this. I'm sure utlaw is doing great for himself; however, I'm always a bit considered about anyone who is that cocky after all of 2 years of practice. The best professionals I know are those who have learned from their mistakes, not those that are full of bravado (or who think they are God's gift to the legal profession).

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...........

Postby guyplus » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:37 pm

.............
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Re: path to trial law

Postby kalvano » Fri Jun 08, 2012 3:46 pm

guyplus wrote:
Gandalf205 wrote:utlaw is born and bred for success and charisma, apparently.

I know this guy seemed like a good resource, but how has only one other poster picked up on how ridiculous his responses have become?

One question about a competing regional school and he goes ballistic? Every post after the first has become less sensical and more arrogant. Thanks for the info, utlaw, but thanks more for the lolz.


Has anyone else picked up on the hilarity of a lord of the rings wizard boy taking internet pot shots at a texas football player? The obvious inferiority complex concerning OP's presumed genes and personality are just too much. The stereotypes are classic.

Any trial lawyer worth hiring should be 2 notches above ballistic, 3 notches above supremely confident, and entirely incapable of accepting even the slightest logical inconsistency at all times. If one is not supremely confident and capable of going ballistic on command, you are likely destined to be one of the many incapable trial lawyers the OP has mentioned, should you choose the trial law path. There is not a trial advocacy programs in existence that will transform you into a great trial lawyer. I would go ballistic concerning this fact, but the point has been belabored.


Image

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Tanicius
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Re: path to trial law

Postby Tanicius » Fri Jun 08, 2012 4:20 pm

Gandalf205 wrote:utlaw is born and bred for success and charisma, apparently.

I know this guy seemed like a good resource, but how has only one other poster picked up on how ridiculous his responses have become?

One question about a competing regional school and he goes ballistic? Every post after the first has become less sensical and more arrogant. Thanks for the info, utlaw, but thanks more for the lolz.



I would also add that a lot of trial attorneys are indeed made instead of born. Good mentorship and encouragement go a long way for people whom I've known to be shy and introspective.

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Re: path to trial law

Postby utlaw2007 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:50 am

I see we have two more haters that have joined the discussion. Welcome to the thread. I will never apologize for my bravado, my ego, or anything else. And if you don't have supreme confidence in your abilities, you don't belong in a courtroom. If you are one that is easily awed by more experienced lawyers, you certainly have no business facing one in the courtroom. I don't know how many of you have actually played a sport. But I can tell you that there are lots of similarities, as for the mental makeup involved, between playing a sport and being a good trial lawyer. To the others on this thread, thank you for your support. I give my advice. You can either dismiss it or accept it. I do find it very interesting that someone with absolutely no experience would question my thoughts about trial law. I don't have much experience. This is true. However, you have none. So how is your insight better than mine?
Last edited by utlaw2007 on Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:10 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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Re: path to trial law

Postby utlaw2007 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 11:51 am

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Re: path to trial law

Postby utlaw2007 » Wed Jun 13, 2012 12:01 pm

guyplus wrote:
Gandalf205 wrote:utlaw is born and bred for success and charisma, apparently.

I know this guy seemed like a good resource, but how has only one other poster picked up on how ridiculous his responses have become?

One question about a competing regional school and he goes ballistic? Every post after the first has become less sensical and more arrogant. Thanks for the info, utlaw, but thanks more for the lolz.


Has anyone else picked up on the hilarity of a lord of the rings wizard boy taking internet pot shots at a texas football player? The obvious inferiority complex concerning OP's presumed genes and personality are just too much. The stereotypes are classic.

Any trial lawyer worth hiring should be 2 notches above ballistic, 3 notches above supremely confident, and entirely incapable of accepting even the slightest logical inconsistency at all times. If one is not supremely confident and capable of going ballistic on command, you are likely destined to be one of the many incapable trial lawyers the OP has mentioned, should you choose the trial law path. There is not a trial advocacy programs in existence that will transform you into a great trial lawyer. I would go ballistic concerning this fact, but the point has been belabored.


This. Thanks for the support, by the way.

If you aren't cocky as hell, don't be a trial lawyer. I had indicated to a mediator that I was new. She had observed I didn't command much authority at the mediation. She told me, and she has 20+ years litigation experience. She told me that as a trial lawyer, I should act as though I OWN the courtroom and everything connected to it. She basically said that that is your courtroom and don't you forget it.

For those that are serious about becoming GOOD, EFFECTIVE trial lawyers early in their careers, I think I would heed that advice instead of asinine advice that criticizes what I say when I have found both financial and substantive career success so early on in my career. I may only be two years in, but I think I would subscribe to my advice over someone who hasn't even finished law school yet.




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