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The Justice Gene: Why Become a Trial Lawyer?

With all the career options out there, why become a trial lawyer?  There are abundant types of law practice, and there are plenty of careers outside the law, so why choose the life of a trial lawyer?  It is a demanding life, rarely if ever offering an easy route. For a true trial lawyer, I am not sure there is ever an option.  It is a calling, not just a career.

Being a trial lawyer means devoting oneself to the cause of his clients.  To truly become a trial lawyer, a lawyer who actually tries cases, means developing, maintaining, and cultivating great levels of personal courage.  Trial lawyers take huge risks, personal and financial, on behalf of their clients.  After all, if the jury rejects the case, it rejects the trial lawyer and it also hands him a tremendous financial loss. Being a trial lawyer requires courage.

But for those of us who become trial lawyers, there is often no choice.  The trial lawyer cannot help the “justice gene.”  Something about the trial lawyer’s life, his world, or the way he is wired pushes him again and again to serve justice.  Facing the personal and financial risks he or she faces in each of his or her cases would not be possible without this irrepressible urge for justice. The craving for justice is what drives a trial lawyer to handle the risks associated with trying cases.

Many people, for reasons too complicated to enumerate here, think trial lawyers are driven by greed.  This is not true for the trial lawyers I know.  The trial lawyers I know are most alive and most energized when they are pursuing justice.  Plain and simple. Add the harsh criticism of “greedy trial lawyers,” demeaning to trial lawyers everywhere, to the burden that most trial lawyers carry.  Again, they cannot drive through the risk, and stay resistant to the demeaning criticism, if it were not for their commitment to serve justice.

If you are an attorney driven by justice to the point you can withstand the pressures of great financial risk, deep personal rejection, and venomous public criticism, then you may have no choice but to become a trial lawyer!