October 24, 2018 Articles

How to Give Associates Court Experience in an Era of Diminishing Trials

Firms that actively develop young associates into trial attorneys will have a competitive edge over those that fail to do so

By Anne E. McClellan and Maxwell Mahoney

It may not be surprising to hear that civil trials are diminishing; however, the rapid and sharp decline in which they are is sobering. Over the past 20 years, the number of annual federal trials has dropped by about 62 percent, even though during that same time period, federal courts’ caseloads have substantially increased. Nora Freeman Engstrom, “The Diminished Trial,” 86 Fordham L. Rev. 2131, 2131–33 (2018). Those statistics raise an important question: How will the next generation of trial lawyers gain the training and experience necessary to properly represent clients?

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