Authored By: Iris Garrett
With the recent measures to end corporate arbitration (such as the case for federally-funded nursing home admission contracts), it would make sense that more disputes and legal issues would be taken to court; however, that assumption is wrong. The reality is that the process of settling a case with an arbiter or third party is entirely more prevalent than actual trials.
David Fauss of Magnus Research Consultants and Graphics says this trend is described as the “vanishing jury trial” and says it has caused many legal professionals from gaining access to the courtroom. As a result, they lose their valuable trial skills.
Fauss’ partner, Dr. Melissa Pigott says the “vanishing jury trial” has also put trial lawyers at risk of potentially alienating their clients. She says the alienation comes from people wanting to hire attorneys who go to court and not ones who simply sit in their office and prepare cases for settlement. Another downside? She says unfortunately the risk doesn’t weaken if you’re an experienced lawyer or one just starting out.
So how do trial lawyers address and solve the “vanishing jury trial” phenomenon? Dr. Pigott says these days, the only way for an attorney to be guaranteed trial experience is by working as a prosecutor or public defender trying criminal cases. Yet, she and Fauss agree that trial lawyers in other areas can stay above the fold if they follow one principle: “sharpen the saw”. They say engaging in practices like mock trials can keep your skills from getting rusty or dull and doing so will not only help you during a case, but will keep you sharp even when you’re not in front of a jury.
You can read David Fauss and Dr. Melissa Pigott’s full article by clicking here.
Photo Credit: Aleksandar Radovanovic