Many young associates assimilate into Big Law firms with aspirations of managing their own cases from start to finish. This includes deposing fact witnesses and experts, briefing dispositive motions, arguing those motions, and ultimately, playing a role at trial. But in reality, opportunities to actually play a role at trial may be scarce for a young attorney at a Big Law firm.
Early on in their careers, most aspiring trial attorneys find themselves in a paradoxical situation where they are told they need more experience before they can take the deposition or argue the motion or examine a witness at trial. Because the high stakes in most litigations handled by Big Law firms create certain barriers to entry, associates may need to seek out other opportunities to hone their trial skills. One invaluable opportunity is the mock jury trial exercise, which is offered in-house by many law firms and externally through trial training programs. These exercises allow for less experienced, aspiring trial attorneys to argue motions in limine, present an opening argument, examine fact and expert witnesses, levy and respond to objections, argue a directed verdict motion, and present a closing argument, all in the presence of a mock judge and jury panel.