The Young Trial Attorney


Be quick, but don’t hurry. – John Wooden


For any defense attorney a criminal trial is a balancing act. A criminal defense attorney must tailor the message for the jury selected, but still aggressively pick apart the allegations made by the State. A successful defense requires effective advocacy and protection of constitutional rights. But, for the young trial attorney, a criminal trial may involve balancing acts, so much so that it can be compared to attempting to perfect a smooth golf swing while, at the same time, adjusting to the speed of the NFL game.

Many jurors, most prosecutors, and nearly all judges bring more life experiences to the courtroom than the young trial attorney.  Frequently, the only common ground between a young criminal defense attorney and the prosecutor and judge is the law degree that all three hold. Accordingly, in order to respect, relate, and captivate one’s audience, the young trial attorney must convey a humble demeanor and quiet confidence, both in the courtroom and in the judge’s chambers; and all depends on sufficient preparation.

While the young trial attorney may be lean on trial experience, he may still draw upon past life experiences to be respectfully assertive during the trial.  Those life lessons, coupled with the hands-on experience of dozens of criminal trials, can then lead the young trial attorney to view the mechanics of a criminal trial like that of the aforementioned golf swing – preparation is king; allow the muscle memory to control; and always focus on the task at hand.

Only if the young trial attorney is cognizant of those three pillars – preparation, muscle memory, and focus – can he then begin to adapt to the speed at which many issues arise at trial, for it is oftentimes this speed that proves to be the most challenging.

Fortunately for our clients, KesslerWilliams, LLC, a criminal litigation and trial practice, is much more successful in the courtroom than on the golf course.

The contents of this article are the property of KesslerWilliams, LLC.  Permission to reprint this article will be granted upon request.

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