Judith Livingston, senior partner at KDLM was featured on “What I Wish I Knew Then” with Steve Cohen for the New York Law Journal. During the interview, she offered advice to young lawyers that she would give her younger self.

Young Trial Lawyers
  1. You have to be willing to take on the hardest of the hard cases. You have to be willing to fail because you learn so much from that.
  2. Watching good lawyers is invaluable for anyone who wants to be a trial lawyer.
  3. You can never know your case well enough. There’s always more to learn.
  4. Never stop reading your file and reading your case because you’ll constantly learn more things.
  5. Adopt the great skills of other lawyers, but always be yourself.
  6. Realize you don’t know it all. 
  7. Be patient with the process, and go easy on yourself.
  8. Work harder. It’s hard work doing what we do and doing it well.
  9. Put down the phones.
  10. The ability to listen is huge – listen to the witnesses’ answers because they’re golden.
  11. A real aspect of voir dire in medical malpractice cases is you’ve got to listen and look for kinder people, people who care. Show an interest. It’s not just reading from a list of questions. Talk to people, and show a real interest in them and who they are.
  12. You want jurors to see your human side, and understand it, in jury selection.

“Good trial lawyers have skills. They know how to cross-examine, how to elicit certain information and work hard as trial lawyers in the courtroom. But great lawyers, they have a passion for what they’re doing, they have a belief, they have empathy for their clients that they bring with them into the courtroom. And I do believe that to be a really top lawyer, you need both of those things.” – Judith Livingston

Share this advice from top New York personal injury lawyer, Judith Livingston with your friends and family members who are starting their journey as lawyers.