BACKGROUND Our objective was to test the hypotheses that trial attorneys have shorter lifespans than other attorneys, and that attorneys in general have a shortened lifespan compared with the general population. METHODS Using obituaries from the Annual Report of the Virginia State Bar, we compared the lifespans of male trial attorneys with those of male non-trial attorneys. We also compared these findings with the lifespans of males in the general population. RESULTS For white male attorneys in Virginia, the mean +/- SD age at death was 66.2 +/- 12.6 years for 250 trial attorneys and 65.0 +/- 12.5 years for 598 non-trial attorneys. This was not statistically significant. The lifespans of both trial and non-trial attorneys exceeded those of the general population. CONCLUSION This small preliminary study showed that the occupation of male trial attorneys does not shorten their lives, and that male attorneys, in general, do not have shortened lifespans compared with the general population.