The vanishing trial is a phenomenon that many in the legal community are talking about. I went to law school in large part to be a litigator. I love the courtroom. I love the pressure and rush of having to think on my feet. Of knowing that no matter how much I prepare, I'm simply going to have to react to something at trial.
But even as someone who relishes trial work, in my four+ years as a practicing attorney, I have participated in or tried less than a dozen cases.
The reality is the majority of cases get thrown out or settle prior to trial. I believe the current statistic is that less than 5% of cases actually make it to a trial/hearing date.
The impact? Law firms struggle to find ways to train young attorneys in litigation practice and skills. And it makes it very hard for people with a legitimate grievance to find relief. The Boston Globe has an interesting article on this phenomenon here.