Asked and Answered

Want to be a successful litigator? Come to the office, say 2 BigLaw trial lawyers

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For young litigators who want to be considered “a lawyer’s lawyer,” careers spent mostly working from home may not get you to where you want to be, according to Robert Giuffra and Evan Chesler, two Wall Street partners who have been trying cases for more than 30 years.

“You can’t get mentored by a Zoom call. This idea that we’ll all be sitting at home practicing law, I don’t think that will work,” says Giuffra, a co-chair at Sullivan & Cromwell.

He does think think doing solo thought work, such as writing a brief, makes sense to do at home. But the good trial team work, which he sees as instrumental to winning cases, works much better in person.

“Trials are 95% homework and 5% theater. The old guy at the front of the parade gets that 5%, and the homework gets done by the team,” says Chesler, a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore who was the firm’s chairman from 2013 through 2021.

Send ideas for future episodes to ABA Journal Senior Writer Stephanie Francis Ward.

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In This Podcast:

<p>Robert Giuffra</p>

Robert Giuffra

Robert Giuffra is a litigation partner at Sullivan & Cromwell and is the law firm’s co-chair. His work focuses on “bet the company” commercial lawsuits in areas including products liability, tax, banking and employment law.

<p>Evan Chesler</p>

Evan Chesler

Evan Chesler, a partner at Cravath, Swaine & Moore, is a commercial litigator whose work includes securities, intellectual property and antitrust lawsuits. He does trial and appellate work in state and federal courts.

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