Defense Lawyer Versus Trial Lawyer: Know The Major Differences

A lot of people make the mistake of thinking that a defense lawyer and a trial lawyer are one and the same. They are right. There is nothing that is stopping a defense counsel from acting as a trial lawyer when the case goes to trial.

However, leading experts are of the opinion that when push comes to shove (your case goes to trial), individuals and groups should try to get represented by an experienced trial lawyer.
There are no laws that prohibit an attorney to be a trial and defense lawyer together. Neither is there a law that states that no one can represent themselves individually if they so wish to. Yet, experts recommend hiring a specialist to handle everything relating to the legal process.
In this article, we are going to examine some of the major differences between defense and trial lawyers. If you are someone whose case is going to trial, you might want to read the article till the end.

What is the Role and Responsibility of a Defense Lawyer?

Let us try to break down the steps that take place when a charge is filed.
Once someone has been charged with a formal legal complaint, the first thing that they do is receive a copy of the order. This is followed by the arraignment. This is where most people are going to hire a defense lawyer.
It should be pointed out that every formal charge that is filed legally does not end up in trial. A defense lawyer represents the clients and works to ensure the most favorable outcomes against the charges that are leveled.
Everything leading up to the trial is known as the pre-trial period in a legal case. In this stage, a defense attorney can help in-
- Negotiating with the public prosecutor and the judges in the hope of reaching a Plea Bargain and agreement on behalf of the client.
- Push for reduced sentencing coupled with community service, drug therapy, or financial bonds and penalties.
- Prevent the case from going for a trial and ensuring that the counsel and client retain some say in the legal processes.
When the case goes to a trial, its outcome then lands at the discretion of the judges and the jury members. This is something most clients do not want.

A Trial Lawyer: What do they do and why are they important?

There might be unforeseen reasons that have pushed your case from the negotiation stage to the trial stage. In such a situation, the judge announces a date when the trial is going to take place.
A defense lawyer, even the most successful ones can be found wanting when a case goes a trial. This is because a trial lawyer will have to contend with some aspects that a defense lawyer will not. The following are some areas that a trial lawyer will have to deal with.
- One of the foremost functions of a trial lawyer involves the selection of the jury. Having a balanced and fair jury can go a long way in determining a successful outcome.
- Witness examination and cross-checks are something that requires a lot of expertise, talent, and forte. Making witnesses confess or disclose sensitive information is key.
- Presenting the case, by gathering evidence and quoting precedent in front of the judge and jury in a pressure-sensitive environment is not an easy task.
A trial lawyer’s role and functions involve getting their client away successfully from a courtroom battle. By swaying the jury and the judges, a trial lawyer has fewer resources and more at stake than a defense lawyer.

What makes a Great Trial Lawyer?

According to experts, the ability to thrive under pressure intense courtroom proceedings is what makes a great trial lawyer. A trial lawyer needs to have an imposing personality, excellent communication skills, and the ability to convince all those in the courtroom by their arguments.
A lot depends on the opening and closing statements that are made by trial lawyers. While only a handful of cases end up in trial, it is here where histories are made, and movies are inspired from. Successful trial lawyers command the highest fees and commissions in the legal industry.
Oratory skills and an analytical mind are critical when choosing a great trial lawyer. A strong and imposing confident personality is what helps in making all those convincing arguments in front of the judges and jury members.
If a case goes to trial, clients would be well served by going with an experienced trial lawyer than a simple defense counsel. Your defense counsel can brief the trial lawyer on the proceedings leading up to the trial. However, when it comes to actual courtroom drama, it is best that you let yourself be represented by someone that has an excellent track record at trial.

The Final Analysis

It is essential that clients ask definite questions before they hire either their criminal defense attorney or trial lawyers. You need to make sure that you are making the best selection possible. At the end of the day, everyone wants their case to have a favorable outcome. Always remember that the public prosecutor always pushed for convictions at all costs. Working with an excellent trial lawyer can help you walk unscathed from the legal battle. 

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Posted - 06/28/2021