Litigators vs. Trial Lawyers: Is there a Difference? Episode 15

April 26, 2022 by

Lincoln Derr attorney Jeremy Sugg joined us in the studio to pose an interesting question: Is there a difference between trial lawyers and litigators? The answer: It’s complicated. “The first time I ever heard the two phrases used, to the extent that it suggested there was a distinction, I was a young attorney, and someone was talking about a well-recognized attorney here in town,” Jeremy recalls. “This other attorney said, ‘He’s a trial lawyer not a litigator,’ and you could tell there was a negative connotation.”

Tricia Derr and Sara Lincoln, Lincoln Derr’s founders, identify themselves first and foremost as trial lawyers, simply because they want to be in the courtroom as many days as possible. Jeremy calls himself a “litigator who tries cases.”

The verdict on this one? You tell us. Are you a “trial lawyer” or a “litigator”? And is one better than the other?


The great debate

We aren’t the only ones asking this question: Check out this breakdown of trial lawyers vs. litigators from The Balance.

The American College of Trial Lawyers

Sara and Tricia are both fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers, recognized as the preeminent organization of trial lawyers in North America, dedicated to maintaining and improving the standards of trial practice, professionalism, ethics, and the administration of justice. Learn more about the organization here.

About Jeremy Sugg


Jeremy-SuggMy law license declares I am an attorney and counselor at law, and I take my role as a counselor very seriously. I work tirelessly to ensure my clients have all the facts and law to make the best decision for themselves or their business. If a client’s path leads us to a courtroom, I ensure the judge and jury have the relevant facts and law necessary to make the correct decision.

These have been my guiding principles since I first began practicing law.  In my first year of practice, I was appointed by a judge to represent a client who was charged with a Class “C” felony.  The client was an older gentleman who faced the prospect of spending the remainder of his life in prison.  The evidence against him was significant, but he refused to go down without a fight.  I was appointed to the case with the understanding it was a lost cause, but would be good experience for me.  At trial, I highlighted the shaky credibility of the State’s witnesses, and the jury returned a verdict of “not guilty.”

I have continued to put these principles into practice throughout my career.  I handle matters ranging from contract and real-estate disputes to defamation and products liability claims.  Whether for individuals, small businesses or large corporations, I guide my clients through the litigation process with full knowledge of the risks involved and an eye towards the most comprehensive resolution.

Now, what’s your verdict? Leave us a review, and let us know what you think — what you like, what you want more of, what we could do better. We’ll be releasing more episodes soon, so be sure to subscribe for more!

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Our Cover Art Background: “Brave Enough”

Artist: Sally Higgins

After many years of artistic pursuits of various kinds, Charlotte artist Sally Higgins turned to painting about 10 years ago. She works in oil, acrylic, encaustic and mixed media. Art provides Sally a welcome respite from her word-filled career as a trial lawyer.  See more of Sally’s art at and

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