Much ink has been spilled in recent years about the “vanishing jury trial” in America. With fewer jury trials and more at stake in many of the cases that are tried (for example, large patent infringement cases), opportunities for junior attorneys to participate meaningfully in trial advocacy have evaporated. Federal judges have increasingly expressed concern about who will be prepared to try the complex cases of the next generation.
Creating opportunities for young lawyers to take an active role in today’s trials is not, however, just a way of preparing the legal profession for the future. It is also an important strategy for serving clients in the present. Young lawyers often work more closely than senior lawyers with the witnesses who will testify at trial and are in a unique position to present those witnesses’ direct testimony. Eager to gain trial experience, young lawyers invariably bring an outstanding level of preparation to the task. Finally, advocacy by young lawyers can be refreshing—and most importantly, persuasive—to judges and juries.
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