A trial attorney is a lawyer that tries cases before a jury or a judge. Most attorneys usually specialize in offering legal counsel and drawing contracts, but a trial attorney is one who specializes in convincing the court in defense of his or her client. But what does a trial attorney do exactly?
Assessing the case
The job of a trial attorney begins even before trial commences in a courtroom. The attorney first gets all the details of the case of his client. The attorney therefore interview his or her client, the witnesses of the state and other potential witnesses. This can at times entail analyzing police and crime scene reports. After the trial attorney has all the information that he requires, he then determines whether his client has a higher chance of getting acquitted or being convicted. He also plans how he will present the case to the judges in court.
Planning a line of argument
For the trial attorney to win a court case, he first draws a strategy that will convince the judges enough to make a ruling that will favor him or her. To win the case, the trial attorney can argue a case on its merits, or fight the case technically so that the witnesses are left confused without tangible evidence to pin down the accused.
As they prepare to appear in court rooms for trial, trial attorneys will usually gather a lot information that relates to the case in a bid to make the most compelling arguments. This often entails researching on legal statutes that might apply in the case and obtaining facts on the actions that the involved parties have taken.
Gathering of evidence involves interviewing or deposing witnesses. Deposing is where the witness offers sworn written or verbal testimony that can be used in court later. During a trial, witnesses are usually sworn in, and then re-interviewed. The trial attorney can call his or her witnesses who will then testify in place of his client. He also cross-examines the accuser’s witnesses.
In juried trials, the trial attorneys are usually involved in selecting the jury that hears the case. However, this selection of juries varies with states, but the process usually involves questioning the jurors or requesting them to fill out some questionnaires. The trial attorneys then use the information provided in choosing their jury.
Preparing written motions
As the trial progresses, a trial attorney will file several written motions where he or she requests the juror or judge to carry out certain actions. The filed motions generally describe the desired motions and often contain a legal justification as to why the judge should grant that motion.
Presenting the case
This is perhaps the most common duty of trial attorneys. They argue the case in the courtroom in the presence of a jury or judge. The case’s central argument is usually presented to the fullest in the opening and closing statements of the attorney. The attorney also argues out the case as he or she files motions and interviews the witnesses.
Settling the case
Most trial attorneys are usually prepared to argue out their cases in courtrooms. However, in some instances, they will facilitate out of court settlements. A plea bargain can be made if the case is criminal, while for a civil case, the out of court settlement happens through writing a settlement.