Personal injury lawyers deal with cases related to physical and psychological injuries, like those caused by accidents or medical malpractices and negligence etc. It is their responsibility to ensure that the rights of their clients are protected and that they receive a reasonable compensation for the injuries caused.
The work hours are usually long and personal injury lawyers often need to travel to meet clients and others related to a case. While there are potentials for higher income for private practices, the work itself can be very stressful at times. In fact, there is so much you need to know as a personal injury lawyer, especially when starting out.
Lawsuits related to personal injury largely involve civil litigation caused by injuries resulting from animal attacks, burn injuries, car and motorcycle accidents, back and neck injuries, broken and fractured bone injuries, work related injuries, medical negligence, brain injuries and more. Besides, wrongful death falls under personal injury lawsuits.
In 2012, almost 37.4 million injuries occurred to people throughout the country that required a doctor’s care, according to a report by the National Center for Health Statistics. It further indicated that four leading external causes related to injury episodes include falls, overexertion, being struck by a person/object, and transportation. All these made personal injury a growing field in law and the demand of skilled attorneys dealing with such cases are also increasing at a steady rate.
Here are 5 things every future personal injury lawyer should know.
- Practice Thinking Outside the Box
As a personal injury lawyer you need to fight for projecting your client’s rights in order to seek fair compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and other damages. But there is a high supply of lawyers out there and it is greater than the demand and everyone is willing to work really hard and put in long hours. It is therefore essential to differentiate yourself otherwise it will become difficult for you to look for jobs or establish yourself as a partner one day. But the question remains: How?
The key lies in thinking outside the box. Trial law makes an excellent career niche but not a lot of legal professionals know how to try a case properly in court. In fact, if you study closely you will find even the top litigators from the top law firms haven’t tried a case in the court very recently.
This is where you should begin. Learn to be a real trial lawyer and start trying cases. There is no greater satisfaction than persuading a jury in favor of your client.
- Start Networking and Join the Conversation
To become successful in legal profession you need to start building your network, the sooner the better. Join the e-mail list serves and actively participate in legal forums to establish online relationships with fellow lawyers from all across the country. You can share ideas, motions, and strategies with these lawyers who also face the same issues like you. This will not only save you long hours of work but also help you build a strong support network.
You can join several trial lawyer list serves and forums for dedicated niche of personal injury lawsuits such as car accidents, traumatic brain injuries, truck accidents, and so on. In addition, participate in groups of doctors and lawyers to exchange ideas and insights to gain tremendous competitive advantages.
You must also maintain a digital rolodex of your contacts and keep in touch with them via regular emails exchanging ideas and articles etc. to establish a strong professional relationship.
- Keep the Court Conversation Simple
Law students often become distant and guarded and forget interacting like a normal human being. Although you are a lawyer and need to deal with a lot of things at a time, your juries are still normal people and not law school professors speaking in strenuous and complex legal terms. So instead of talking like a lawyer, join in the conversation like you would do with an average Joe. Avoid complicated sentences and use simple terms instead of big words.
Besides, jurors like people they understand and favor whom they like. The common touch therefore will help you to win over them in the long run.
- Accept Failures, At Times
Finding humor when things go wrong is one of the great traits of a legal professional. In fact, the old saying is that you cannot be a real trial lawyer unless you win a case which you should have lost and lose the one you should have won.
In today’s legal landscape there are numerous examples where a trial lawyer lost his/her case even though it was a just and deserving client. He/she may have ruled out the arguments provided by the opposing counsel throughout the phases of trial and still lost it at the end. The judge can often forget to read that important motion you have spent days preparing. And you out of all should know life isn’t always fair and accept it or better, laugh about it and look for ways to help your client get a fair compensation.
- Attend Seminars & Workshops
While there are a lot of lawyers graduating out of law schools each year, only a few make to the top law firms and even less become celebrated litigators in future. For a legal professional, it is essential to comprehend that the real learning and development begins beyond the classroom. Start attending legal seminars and workshops.
This is a great way to enhance your knowledge as well as to build networks. A bonus: you can always find new mentors or even better, potential employers in one of those seminars/workshops you are attending.
But the real cause for attending legal seminars, workshops, lectures and other events should be to learn more. In fact, you can gain more knowledge in a week compared to what you have learned in those three years of law school. From tips to persuade juries and real life examples of trial advocacy to cutting-edge techniques implemented by the best trial lawyers of the country, these seminars cover almost all aspect of court room trails, making them a great learning opportunity.
Also, maintain a journal of every piece of advice or knowledge bestowed upon you through these seminars or otherwise and chronicle them. Even better, put that knowledge into action not just in court room but also in form of a blog or discuss them in the dedicated forums you participate actively.
Building your career as a personal injury lawyer would need more than graduating from your law school or clearing the Bar exam. This is a law field where you need to help victims who are seriously hurt by no fault of their own. If it is truly your passion, follow it by all means. This field of law is more than a job; something that’s hardly suitable for clock watchers. It is a lifestyle where overtime and late hours are usually self-induced.
Author Bio: Rachel Oliver is a thought leader in laws dealing with personal injury and related niches. Updated with the latest happenings in the legal world, she shares her experiences and anecdotes through her write-ups on various websites. Interact with her through her Google+ profile.