Civil law vs. Criminal law: Differences in relationship building

The State Bar Annual Meeting brought up the need to clarify a few distinctions between lawyers that the general public may not know.

Criminal law is a repeat player game based upon relationships of trust, integrity, and reputation. You have to work with the same prosecutors and judges on different cases week after week.  We don’t come to annual meetings and conferences to build relationships. We already have them in place.

The same isn’t true in the civil world.

In the civil world, lawyers often litigate or work against lawyers from different firms in different cities and states. There is no incentive to built a relationship because you’ll probably never work with them again.

Conferences like the State Bar annual meeting help build relationships because corporate transaction work and large scale litigation don’t necessarily lend themselves to a high number of interactions with different lawyers.

After overhearing a number of conversations between lawyers, I realized that a lot of lawyers don’t know many people outside of their law firm. After all, when you’re working on $100,000,000 cases, you don’t really have more than one client.  I enjoy working with people. Being here reinforces the fact that not only am I in the right profession, I’m in the right practice area as well.

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