December 18, 2017

What Trial Attorneys Want For The Holidays

Law360, Los Angeles (December 15, 2017, 10:00 PM EST) — Trial attorneys at the top of their high-stress profession are making lists and checking them twice, hoping that this holiday season, they’ll be waking up to find new slates of jury trials, more involved trial courts and more.


David Berg of Berg & Androphy said it wasn’t a tough call to decide what he’d put at the top of his list this holiday season.

“Obviously what I want to see is some more jury trials, a revival of jury trials,” he said. “If Santa … were to fill my sock, it would be with more trial settings.”

Berg said that for litigants, a variety of factors, including several U.S. Supreme Court decisions, have placed hurdles in the way of cases that might head to jury trials.

“I think it will be at least a generation before some of those decisions are reversed, so we’re looking at a generational problem,” he said.

Although experienced trial attorneys likely aren’t worried about staying busy, Berg said the reduced number of jury trials has made it harder for trial veterans to pass on the skills and techniques needed to excel in the courtroom.

And Courtland Reichman, managing principal of McKool Smith PC’s Silicon Valley and Los Angeles offices, said the dwindling number of trials is is making it harder to train the newer generation of trial lawyers.

“We’re losing these capabilities because there’s fewer and fewer trials these days,” he said.

And beyond attorneys, the rest of the American public suffers when jury trials begin to disappear, Reichman said

“I really believe — and I believe there’s a consensus among people who are really trying cases — that it’s a cornerstone of our democracy,” he said.

Reichman noted that a court system hosting many jury trials is a court system that is bringing in everyday people to help make decisions that will have tremendous impacts on their fellow citizens and thus keeps the public engaged in the courts.

And Berg added that jury trials are “the most direct form of government that we have.”

“You elect a senator or you elect the president, and those folks don’t do what they say they’re going to do,” Berg said. “Here, you have a direct effect on your neighbor as a juror.”


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