What does a Trial Attorney do?

Trial attorneys represent clients or other parties in legal cases and frequently make their arguments in a courtroom setting. If they are in the prosecuting role, they typically work for a government department or entity, whereas other trial lawyers work for businesses or private firms. They oversee depositions, question witnesses, present closing arguments, and guide the overall legal strategy. They provide legal advice throughout the entire process, and may coordinate settlements or pleadings. They also manage appeal proceedings. They conduct extensive research to explore legal precedents.

Trial attorneys must possess a JD degree and be licensed to practice law in their state. They should have extensive courtroom experience and the ability to make a strong, persuasive argument. These roles require excellent research skills, and in-depth understanding of legal strategies and procedures.

What responsibilities are common for Trial Attorney jobs?
  • Review and edit attorney motions and responses relevant to court cases.
  • Analyze assigned cases and prepare the cases for trial.
  • Review documents and provide direction and oversight to non-legal staff.
  • Direct and undertake discovery practice including depositions, expert selection and all other pre-trial preparations.
  • Complete work assignments in a timely, accurate and efficient manner.
  • Develop and implement harm reduction strategies for both pre-trial monitoring and dispositions.
  • Keep clients updated on case status and answer questions.
  • Identify and address both routine and complex legal issues and develop creative solutions.
  • Prepare pleadings, motions, briefs, letters, memoranda, reports, appeals, articles, etc. using our legal case management software.
What are the typical qualifications for Trial Attorney jobs?
  • Bachelor's Degree in business, law, or computer science.
  • Advanced expertise in working with plaintiffs.
  • Comfortable serving in an advocacy role.
  • Strong leadership, negotiation, and critical thinking skills.
  • Able to project a strong sense of confidence.
  • Highly collaborative, capable to work with staff and other attorneys on-site and remotely, as well as serving as a role model and mentor to other associates within the office.
Education--
Work/Life Balance
3.6 ★
Total Pay--
Career Opportunity
3.6 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

How much does a Trial Attorney make?

Confident
$130,360 /yr
Total Pay
$113,295
 /yr

Base Pay

+
$17,066
 /yr

Additional Pay

$130,360

 / yr
$74K$326K
Most Likely Range
Possible Range
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Trial Attorney Career Path

Learn how to become a Trial Attorney, what skills and education you need to succeed, and what level of pay to expect at each step on your career path.

Average Years of Experience

0 - 1
14%
2 - 4
57%
5 - 7
21%
8+
8%
Not including years spent in education and/or training
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Trial Attorney Insights

Read what Trial Attorney professionals have to say about their job experiences and view top companies for this career.
AllstateAllstate
Senior Trial Attorney
Nov 20, 2021

“Good work life balance; I get 25 days PTO a year (been here 4 years).”

Dr. Reddy'sDr. Reddy's
Agency Attorney I
Jan 8, 2020

“Good pay but not competitive”

Cordell & CordellCordell & Cordell
Litigation Attorney
Feb 27, 2021

“Annual awards gala is nice.”

City of HoustonCity of Houston
Senior Assistant City Attorney
Jun 10, 2021

“Regular hours for working is attractive .”

KemperKemper
Trial Attorney
Jun 29, 2020

“Large workload which can feel overwhelming.”

New York City Department of EducationNew York City Department of Education
Agency Attorney I
Jan 15, 2022

“Good amount of responsibility and learning early in your career.”

Katz, Friedman, Eagle, Eisenstein, Johnson and Bareck
Trial Attorney
Mar 22, 2022

“Career advancement including pathway to income and equity partnerships.”

The McShane Firm
Litigation Associate
Jan 21, 2022

“There are endless opportunities to learn and become better.”

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Trial Attorney Interviews

Frequently asked questions about the roles and responsibilities of a Trial Attorney

The most similar professions to Trial Attorney are:
  • Document Review Attorney
  • Attorney
  • Project Attorney
  • Counsel

Related Careers

Document Review Attorney
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No skills overlap
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Project Attorney
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Trial Attorney Jobs