After I started at Klinedinst, I started being called, along with other firm trial attorneys, a “trial horse”. I took it as an acknowledgment of my trial experience or, perhaps, a sign of respect for my many years in the trial trenches and active trial practice. A Google search dug up various references to well-seasoned, pugnacious, successful litigators being referred to as “trial horses”. I really liked the term, still do. Jim Crosby – Trial Horse! Cool! But, my Google search, and a simple dictionary search, also turned up a glaring problem with the term. Now, I am not so sure being a “trial horse” is such a good thing!
In the horse-racing world, a trial horse is a horse used for practice by thoroughbreds and champions. In the boxing world, a trial horse is a fighter who can take a punch, but never gets a shot at meaningful fights and gets knocked around by champions for practice. (Think DeNiro towards the end of “Raging Bull”). Online dictionaries define “Trial Horse” as one who is “set up as an opponent for a champion in trial competitions or workouts” or “an opponent who performs against a superior foe in a workout or exhibition”.
See what I mean! Taken literally, being a “Trial Horse” would mean superior attorneys regularly use me as a practice punching bag to beat on in small meaningless trials.
Think I will stick with “seasoned” trial attorney!