As Trial Lawyers, it is our job to know the law, prepare claims or defenses, and produce as much relevant evidence (exhibits and testimony) as possible to support those claims or defenses so that we can recreate history as seen through our client’s eyes when a case is presented to a Judge or Jury. Like a sport or a horse race, you do everything you can to train yourself and prepare your case so that you have the best possible chance to win on behalf of your client. Trial Lawyers are competitive by nature and enjoy being advocates for their clients. Like a jockey riding a horse, a Trial Lawyer does everything possible, within the rules, to win the horse race.
A good Trial Lawyer knows that not only does he or she have a duty to be the best advocate for his or her client, one must also professionally evaluate that client’s chance of winning or losing a case. This requires a Trial Lawyer to step back and change gears. Not only do they have to advocate and present the facts through their client’s eyes, they must also evaluate the facts through the eyes of the Judge or Jury as presented by all sides and inform their client what their odds are of winning or losing. So, in essence, they are acting as a bookie and informing their client how to bet on the race that the client has entered.
This dual role of advocate and evaluator is one that is essential in order to protect the best interests of a client. The Trial Lawyer who focuses his or her efforts too much on one role while ignoring the other is arguably doing the client a disservice. Clients need a Trial Lawyer who can persuasively present their case and can advise them what they are up against. A Trial Lawyer who acts as a cheerleader rather than an objective evaluator may influence a client to have unreasonably increased expectations which may in turn cause an unnecessary over-spending on legal services. There are many good Trial Lawyers out there who understand that, like many things in life, a balanced approach is the best approach when weighing in on their duties as both an advocate and an evaluator.
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