Personal injury lawyers pursue the same path of training and education as every lawyer; they must earn a law degree and pass a written bar examination. Personal injury attorneys can also become certified as a specialist in civil trial advocacy by completing a specialty certification program accredited by the National Board of Legal Specialty Certification, a non-profit organization accredited by the American Bar Association to provide board certification for attorneys.
Personal Injury Lawyer Skills
Personal injury lawyers typically possess these top ten legal skills. The most successful personal injury attorneys excel at oral advocacy, negotiation and client development and develop specialized knowledge in a niche field of personal injury law.
Personal Injury Lawyer Salaries
Personal injury lawyers are among the highest paid professionals on the planet. The most successful lawyers earn seven-digit salaries although most plaintiff lawyers earn between $30,000 and $300,000, depending on practice size and location. Plaintiff lawyers who pull in fees at the higher end of the spectrum usually handle class action suits or high-dollar personal injury cases. In addition, punitive damages – damages designed to punish the defendant and deter bad conduct - can raise verdict amounts by millions of dollars, adding cash to the lawyer’s pocketbook.
Personal injury lawyers usually represent clients on a contingency basis, in which the attorney's fee represents a percentage (typically 30%-40%) of the plaintiff's eventual compensation, payable when the case is resolved. This arrangement means that the plaintiff does not pay a fee unless the lawyer recovers money on his behalf.
Since litigation is on the rise and represents the bread and butter of many law firms, the employment outlook for personal injury attorneys is excellent. An uncertain economy, stricter regulation and company growth topped the reasons cited for anticipated increases in litigation in a recent litigation trends survey. However, tort reform - proposed changes in common law civil justice systems that would reduce tort litigation and cap damage awards – could potentially reduce the number of claims filed and the amount of damages recovered by plaintiff attorneys in the future.