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.

EducationBachelor's Degree
Work/Life Balance
3.6 ★
Salary Range--
Career Opportunity
3.6 ★
Avg. Experience2-4 years

Trial Attorney Salaries

Average Base Pay

$84,224 /yr
Same as national average
Not including cash compensation
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Not enough salaries reported to show distribution
Median: $84K
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Glassdoor Estimated Salary

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.

Trial Attorney
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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.
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”

Dallas CountyDallas County
Assistant District Attorney
Aug. 8, 2019

“and great work life balance.”

Trial Attorney
Jun. 29, 2020

“Large workload which can feel overwhelming.”

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

“Regular hours for working is attractive .”

Cordell & CordellCordell & Cordell
Litigation Attorney
Feb. 27, 2021

“Annual awards gala is nice.”

The McShane Firm
Litigation Associate
Jan. 21, 2022

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

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.”

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Trial Attorney Interviews

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Frequently asked questions about the role and responsibilities of a trial attorney

When working as a trial attorney, the most common skills you will need to perform your job and for career success are juris Doctorate, Written Communication, Writing, Plaintiffs and Conducting.

The most similar professions to trial attorney are:
  • Document Review Attorney
  • Attorney
  • Patent Attorney
  • Counsel

The most common qualifications to become a trial attorney is a minimum of a Bachelor's Degree and an average of 0 - 1 of experience not including years spent in education and/or training.