Trial Attorney or Litigator?
When you’re looking at time in prison, an unfair settlement or a terrible plea deal you often want to be able to fight for yourself and you need someone who knows the ropes… someone who can navigate the technicalities and get you the best result. In times like these you need someone who can work with you on those final steps of your case. You may find yourself in a position where the attorney you retained at the beginning of the case tells you that they do not handle the trial aspect of the case and they urge you to either find yourself another attorney or they refer you to someone they think can handle your case best. In situations such as these you may feel uncomfortable because the person who knows your legal history is suddenly and unceremoniously handing you off to a stranger.
It’s almost better to have found this stranger though. This new attorney is often more comfortable with the courtroom and they often have very good working relationships with judges and prosecutors. When you are facing a potentially life changing situation it is in your benefit to have someone who is best prepared to help you navigate. The difference lies between someone who calls themselves a Litigator and someone who calls themselves a Trial Attorney. A litigator is someone who will not go to trial—they may go as far as to prepare the preliminary information for the trial but before the date of the actual trial you will have to retain a trial attorney so that they can handle the courtroom side of the case.
Knowing whether the attorney you have retained is someone who will actually go to trial or someone who will refer you on if the case gets that far takes a simple question before you hand over your money. You want to ask them if they handle trials because you will want the one person who is most familiar with your case and your circumstances to be the one representing you in court. A good trial attorney can come in at the end of the case and successfully read up on everything that happened allowing them to represent you well in trial. However, those trial attorneys are not always the one that your lawyer will refer to you—you have to do your research in both situations in order to get the best representation for yourself.
Asking the right questions and knowing the capabilities of your attorney just in case you may have a situation that is out of your control and out of their expertise is in your benefit. A person who is best for litigation may not be the best at trial and vice versa… however, knowing that when you walk into the situation will make you more comfortable as time goes on. When selecting someone to represent you in a Court of Law make sure that they are someone you trust with your future—you may just have to trust them with that and more.