To become a trial attorney

When I turned in my badge and picked up the law books, I had one dream – one ambition: to become a trial attorney.  

In my mind, that meant becoming an Assistant District Attorney.  Frankly, that was all I knew at the time.  While other officers hated the dreaded “routing slip” notifying them that their presence at court was required, I loved it!  Court was exciting.  It was electric.  It was final.  The 9-1-1 call started the wheel turning, but the court room was its final end.  

After switching from criminal to civil law, the court room no longer was the place where trials happened, but instead became relegated to the place for minor prove-ups, status conferences, or perhaps the occasional summary judgment hearing.  Other than one singular trial in December of 2011, for me, the jury box remained empty.  

This is all about to change.

With my move from Grossman Law Offices to Daniel Stark Injury Lawyers, I didn’t just move cities.  The two firms are as different as night and day, with the only similarity being the substantive law that is practiced – personal injury.  I have said repeatedly to friends and family that I would not have given up the training and experience I received at GLO for anything.  I worked on some of the best cases that exist for personal injury attorneys: 18-wheeler wrongful death, non-subscriber wrongful death, gross negligence exception wrongful death, dram shop wrongful death, railroad wrongful death, airplane crashes, and of course all the lesser-included  non-death/non-commercial cases.  To be fair, I cut my teeth on filet mignon.  However, the culture at GLO was not trial-focused.  We settled cases.  But who could blame us when we were settling 7-figure cases several times a year.  

Fast-forward to Daniel Stark.  I have found my fit!  The culture is warm and friendly – Arms Out and Thumbs Up!  There is a focus on individual excellence – Be Remarkable!  The owners expect the staff to have a balanced life, and not just work ourselves to death: Work Hard – Play Hard!  But that isn’t to say we don’t get our jobs done.  We are expected to put in the time/energy to accomplish big goals and to perform at a high level: Do It All – Do It Right – Do It Now!  The executive team at Daniel Stark focuses on the organization unlike any other place I have ever been.  It is the realization of all those business school classes and books on leadership I have read over the years.  But the best part of Daniel Stark is the focus of the litigation department:

WE ARE IN A HURRY TO GO TO TRIAL!  

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The excitement this week has been palpable as I have been getting ready for my first trial with Daniel Stark.  Monday morning is go-time.  I will pick a jury in the morning, and give my opening statement that afternoon.  My paralegal and I visited the court room today, checking out the audio/video equipment, and talking with the court coordinator to learn about the judge’s proclivities. The buzz around the litigation department has been awesome, and I feel like everyone just wants to be a part of it.  I am trying to include as many people in the department as possible, as it is both a good training opportunity and a reward for their hard work.  I guess I’m not the only one who is drawn to the courthouse.

Mastering the jury trial is the pinnacle of my profession, and the reason I started down this long road back in September of 2007.  I don’t just want to try cases, I want to be a trial attorney.  And not just any ‘ol trial attorney, I want to be board certified. This is the big goal I had when I decided to turn in my uniforms, my MPD collar pins, and my duty pistol to the Mesquite PD property room.  It has taken a little while, but the time has finally come.  

The trial on Monday is a simple car wreck case.  Nobody died.  There aren’t any complicated legal theories or damages models.  Nothing ‘sexy’.  I won’t win millions of dollars for my client.  But I am where I always wanted to be: in the courtroom.  

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3 thoughts on “To become a trial attorney

  1. When we truly love what we are doing, all the experience and sacrifice it took to get there feels more like an escalator than drudgery. We are so very proud of you, and wish you a career than brings blessings to you, your family, and your clients. Polly Turner

  2. Very nicely put. All of our experiences are needed to make us the best we can be everyday. You make your aunt proud! Aunt Snap

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