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Building a Successful Career in Litigation: Tips for Junior Lawyers

Written by: Evie Courtier
Published on: 19 Feb 2024


As noted in our ‘Litigation Job Description’, those in litigation lawyer jobs specialise in the resolution of disputes between individuals and/or corporations, holding responsibility for representing claimants or defendants before, during and after court hearings.

While the term ‘litigation’ often refers to cases that reach trial, it’s also used to cover alternative dispute resolution methods such as arbitration or mediation. So, why work in litigation? For junior lawyers, litigation provides ample opportunities to develop crucial legal skills such as legal research, writing, oral advocacy, and negotiation, whilst offering an intellectual challenge, versatility and adaptability, and the chance to build a strong legal foundation.

As an overview, the field of litigation can offer junior lawyers:

• The chance to develop expertise: exposure to a diverse caseload allows junior lawyers to gain knowledge on various aspects of the legal process.
• Intellectual stimulation: working on diverse cases allows for continuous learning, and the application of legal procedures and principles to the real world.
• Professional networking: the realm of litigation involves interacting with judges, opposing counsel, clients and other legal professionals, opening doors to mentorship, collaborations, and future job opportunities. See our ‘Networking for Junior Lawyers: the Importance of Business Development’ article, for more information on the importance of mastering the law and building expertise in your chosen practice area.
• Career visibility: successful outcomes of certain cases can enhance a junior lawyer’s visibility across the legal community. Learning how to communicate with, and manage the expectations of clients, helps to establish yourself as a leading junior lawyer in your field.
• Versatility: the nature of litigation exposes junior lawyers to different areas of law, focusing on a wide range of cases. This versatility contributes to adaptability, and the curation of well-rounded legal professionals.
• Advancement opportunities: presenting success in litigation can lead to advancement within a law firm or legal department, whether you’re looking to gain a senior role, or eventually, partnership.

Building a successful career as a litigation lawyer is a gradual process, focusing on continued education and learning, the redefinition of your skills, and adapting to challenges along the way. First things first, you must master the basics:

• Develop a strong foundation in legal research and writing. Clear and persuasive communication is crucial in litigation - for further advice, discover our ‘how to improve your legal writing skills’ article.
• Understand the rules of civil procedure, evidence, and local court rules - this knowledge is fundamental to navigating the litigation process.

Learn from senior lawyers:

• Seek mentorship from advanced litigators. Learn from their experiences and ask for guidance on complex matters.
• Be open to feedback and use it as a tool for improvement. Constructive criticism is valuable for professional growth.

Build strong research skills:

• Stay current with legal developments and precedents. Regularly read case law, statutes, and legal publications relevant to your practice area.
• Familiarise yourself with legal research tools and databases to enhance your efficiency.

Attention to Detail:

• Be meticulous in your work - attention to detail is critical in litigation, especially when drafting legal documents or reviewing evidence.
• Review your work carefully to minimise errors and ensure accuracy.

Time Management:

• Develop strong time-management skills to handle multiple cases and deadlines simultaneously. Prioritise tasks based on urgency and importance, and be proactive in managing your workload.

Embrace Technology:

• Stay updated on legal technology trends. Familiarise yourself with e-discovery tools, legal research software, and case management systems to enhance efficiency in your practice.

Professionalism and Integrity:

• Uphold high ethical standards. Trust and credibility are essential in litigation, and maintaining professionalism will contribute to your long-term success.


For more tips on starting out your career as a junior lawyer - visit our blog, diving into topics such as ‘How to Choose a Legal Practice Area’, and ‘How Lawyers can Build Their Personal Brand | Five Ways to Bring Employers to You’.

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