Becoming a Trial Lawyer

Becoming a Trial Lawyer

A Guide for the Lifelong Advocate

Rick Friedman
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Product Description

In the first edition of Becoming a Trial Lawyer, legendary advocate Rick Friedman taught us that the process of becoming a trial lawyer doesn’t end. Now, Friedman returns in this second edition with new lessons on losing, comparing yourself to others, luck, and more that prove a true advocate’s education is never finished.

Trial law is not for the weak of heart. Advocates at any stage of their careers know that attaining both a happy, healthy home and a successful practice is not easy. Friedman won’t profess to have the secret formula for a good life, but his extensive experience both inside the courtroom and out has helped him understand what it takes to balance the personal and professional, and here, he shares these ideas in what might be his most important text to date.

This book is about you. It’s about asking the hard questions and doing what it takes to gain experience, make connections, establish the right reputation, preempt mistakes, succeed at trial, and maintain happiness on a career path that is fraught with stress, conflict, and frustration. Becoming a Trial Lawyer: A Guide for the Lifelong Advocate provides a perfect combination of practical advice and uplifting insights to inspire you to better yourself and progress in your career with confidence.

*This book is available to students and lawyers practicing 5 years or less for $45.00 when registered for the Trial Guides New Lawyers program. You can find more information on how to register here.

  1. Foreword
  2. Preface to the Second Edition
  3. Introduction
  4. Part I: Entering the Jungle
  5. Why Be a Trial Lawyer?
  6. Individual Billing Unit or Trial Lawyer?
  7. Educating Yourself
  8. Do You Have What It Takes?
  9. Your First Trial
  10. Beyond Technique
  11. You and Your Opponents
  12. Part II: Traps in the Jungle
  13. Beware of Formulas
  14. Do Not Expect Perfection
  15. Forget Playing It Safe
  16. More Is Not Better
  17. Strategic Detachment
  18. Your Lawyer Status Carries No Weight with the Jury
  19. Forget about Looking Good
  20. Don’t Try to Fool the Jury
  21. Don’t Assume the Jury Will Respond 
 to Your Favorite Arguments
  22. The Limits of Logic and Sympathy
  23. Don’t Gorge on Experts and Starve for Lay Witnesses
  24. Spend More Time with Witnesses and Clients
  25. Jurors Don’t Need to Like You or Your Client
  26. Embrace Your Conservative Values
  27. Silence Can Be Your Friend
  28. You Must Ask for Money
  29. Superstition
  30. Part III: At Home in the Jungle
  31. Therapy
  32. The Cancer of Comparison
  33. Losing
  34. Luck
  35. Settlement
  36. Physical Health
  37. Family and Friends
  38. Competitors and Comrades
  39. Partners and Staff
  40. The Key to Unhappiness
  41. Afterword
  42. Recommended Reading List
  43. Acknowledgements
  44. About the Author

Additional Information


Publisher Trial Guides, LLC
Paperback 225 pages; 2nd edition (2015); ISBN: 978-1941007426
  1. In this amazing book, Rick Friedman plumbs the depths of the soul of a trial lawyer to reveal what scares us most and how to overcome those fears. For new lawyers and scarred veterans seeking inspiration to continue the fight, this book reminds us that it is not the fearless who are courageous, but those who, fully understanding the risk of loss, walk into the arena of the courtroom anyway.
    —Randi McGinn, president of the Inner Circle of Advocates and author of 
Changing Laws, Saving Lives: How to Take On Corporate Giants and Win
  2. As an aspiring young trial lawyer, it gave me some level of comfort to know that an accomplished veteran like Rick Friedman had the same fears and insecurities as me. This book inspired me to dig deeper and do better. I want to thank Mr. Friedman for writing it.
    —Matt McGill, partner of Lowder & McGill, Bowling Green, Kentucky
  3. Rick Friedman’s latest book provides unique insights for anyone who is a trial lawyer or aspires to be one. Without formulas, edicts, or commandments, Friedman shows how to communicate with jurors and secure justice for deserving clients. It is a book not for the library, but for the nightstand. It will give confidence to those who do not feel that they are born for the courtroom, but know they have much to offer.
    —Michael Koskoff, past president of the Inner Circle of Advocates and 
partner of Koskoff Koskoff & Bieder, Bridgeport, Connecticut
  4. I have always craved the courtroom, but I spent years never feeling satisfied no matter the verdict. I was quickly becoming someone I didn’t want to be. Friedman’s insights have made me not just a better and happier trial lawyer, but a better and happier law partner, mother, and wife. Rick proves he gets us. He is us. His words give us courage to survive another day.
    —Vanessa Cantley, member of the executive committee of the Kentucky Justice Association and founder of Bahe Cook Cantley & Nefzger PLC, Louisville, Kentucky
  5. With the intimacy of a best friend and the wisdom of a grandfather, Rick both speaks to us practically and challenges us aspirationally. Thanks for the great read.
    —Aaron V. Rocke, trial lawyer and adjunct professor at 
Seattle University School of Law
  6. Once again, Mr. Friedman has written a book that should be in the library of every trial lawyer, particularly those in the beginning years of their careers. In the words of its author, Becoming a Trial Lawyer is ‘the book I wish I had found when I started practicing law,’ more than fifty years ago.
    —Edmond Burke, Justice (retired), Supreme Court of Alaska, adjunct 
instructor of trial practice, University of Montana School of Law
  7. Rick catches the true essence of being a trial lawyer—committing to following our own paths while doing so in service to others. From Clarence Darrow through Gerry Spence and to Rick Friedman—each guides us in understanding how we are transformed when we stand and represent another.
    —Charles H. Rose, III, director of the Center for Excellence in Advocacy, 
Professor of Excellence in Trial Advocacy, Stetson University College of Law
  8. From one of the country’s best trial lawyers comes some of the best advice about joining the wonderful, baffling, crucial profession of the trial lawyer—the profession and way of life that demands its practitioners dig deep into everything they are just to be any good. Being a trial lawyer—a good one—is a moral stance, a godsend to the wide world of those in need, and a constant campaign to get better at what you do. If that’s the life you want—more than you want the flat-line life of a corporate desk slave or insurance company lackey—then this is the next book to read.
    —David Ball, Phd, author of David Ball on Damages
  9. Even though I’ve been admitted to practice for fifteen years, I have been reluctant to go to trial, and have avoided it when I can. This book has given me new hope and enthusiasm for trial. This has to be the best lawyer book I have ever read. Every page is filled with ideas, thoughts, wisdom, humor, and insight. I wish I’d had this book when I was in law school. Once I started to read this, I couldn’t put it down. I am going to give this book to all my comrades. I am also going to give to my friends and family. This book has principles that can apply not just to lawyers, but to other occupations.
    —Steve Alvarez, attorney in Tacoma, Washington
  10. By his own admission, Rick is not a ‘natural’ trial lawyer. Thus, he’s uniquely suited to write this much-needed book on the soul and essence of a trial lawyer, one who represents people, not corporations or entities. The journey begins with those who are considering a life’s work as a trial lawyer. It ends with those who verge on burn-out from the tremendous drain on family and self, having tilled the fields of justice for many years. As Rick writes, the book is not about him, but about you and your journey. While he discusses technique, the spirit of the book is Rick’s ability to peel back and expose the soul of the trial lawyer, better than any writer before him. His words are direct, candid, and in the end, uplifting. An absolute must-read, no matter where you are on your journey.
    —Don Keenan, child advocate and member of the Inner Circle of Advocates

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