What It Takes To Be A Great Trial Lawyer – Part 9

The Ability to Pull the Trigger

Trial lawyers a required to make a large number of decisions. Some are minor (e.g. do I ask this interrogatory in this case?) and some are major (e.g. should I settle with one of multiple defendants in a case in which several liability applies?).

Great trial lawyers have confidence in their judgment and know that, after due consideration of the relevant factors, their decision will usually be right. They know that even if their decision is wrong that most problems that arise from that decision can be fixed and, if the original issue is such that an erroneous decision cannot be fixed, more caution is required in the decision-making process (but a timely decision must still be made).

Most importantly, great trial lawyers know that an erroneous decision is usually not as bad as no decision at all. Too many lawyers become frozen when making a tough decision and the resulting delay all too often causes a different kind of harm. Great trial lawyers avoid mental paralysis.

This does not mean that that great trial lawyers make uninformed judgments. They gather information and then make a decision. If during the decision-making process it becomes apparent that more information is acquired the great trial lawyer identifies what is needed, decides how to obtain that information, gathers the information, and then makes the decision.

Sometimes there is no time to gather information. Or there is limited time. In these circumstances the great trial lawyer takes the known information and makes a decision. And lives with it.

The first eight parts of this series.