September 01, 2017

Finding Your Way to First-Chairing a Trial

Presenting steps young litigators can take to become actual trial lawyers.

Ruth A. Bahe-Jachna

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It was one of those mornings when I was in the office early. It was still dark outside. No one else was around yet. Basking in this early morning solitude, I took time to skim the headlines of some of those daily emails telling me what is new and exciting in the practice of law. One in particular caught my eye because it is a subject I care a lot about. Yet another young attorney was bemoaning the challenges of trying to obtain courtroom and trial experience. He was an associate in a large law firm, so he knew that the odds were already stacked against him. He had taken on a pro bono case, hoping that this would be his ticket to gaining that elusive trial experience. He had spent more than a year, and hundreds of hours, slogging through discovery and then ramping up for trial on his pro bono case. And then it happened—his worst nightmare. His pro bono case settled. What ended up being a great result for the client was devastating to this attorney. And yet, his story is all too common.

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