Maureen A. Howard, Surviving (and Thriving) in the First Year of Trial Practice, Aug. 2011 De Novo 8 (2011), https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/faculty-articles/517
The substance and procedure of trial practice may vary across different law firms and agencies, but there are certain challenges that all first-year trial lawyers face when starting out. No matter how brilliant and capable a newly minted attorney may be, there are some lessons more indelibly learned on the job than in law school; while these lessons are undoubtedly valuable, they can be painful and embarrassing. Although reading about the possible pitfalls of the first year of trial practice is not as educational as walking through the fire oneself, I have collected over the years a few tips and strategies for successfully navigating the waters of the first year of trial practice. Experience is, after all, the name we give to our mistakes. In this article, I have drawn on some of those first-year lessons learned by my friends and me that added to our collective experience. My hope is that sharing our mistakes will spare you some of your own.