What is a Litigation Lawyer and Do You Need One?
Lawsuits are common and you shouldn't be surprised if you need to file a litigation claim. But what does a lawyer do during the process and do you need one?
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Have you suffered an injury or monetary loss and considering suing the other party involved?
A lawsuit is a valuable tool used as a way to try to bring about a desired result under the law, but it can also be stressful and expensive.
In the United States, there are approximately 75 lawsuits for every 1,000 people - the fifth-most in the world. The American Bar Association reports that there are more than 1.1 million lawyers in the country.
But not every dispute between parties results in the need to file a lawsuit.
Read on to learn what a litigation lawyer is and if you need one.
Litigation Lawyers Defined
A litigation lawyer is an attorney who represents you in court after a lawsuit has been filed. They also represent individuals facing criminal charges after an arrest.
Litigation lawyers are those practitioners that you are familiar with because of watching TV shows or other legal dramas. The prosecutors and defense attorneys in a criminal case, or the lawyers in court during a civil trial.
But there is more to being a litigation lawyer than simply going to court. These lawyers must familiar with the rules of civil and criminal procedure in the jurisdiction where they are practicing.
The rules of court are important because they set forth the proper procedure the proper response(s) and the time period within which a party may do it.
Missing an important deadline can be fatal to your case and result in dismissal of your causes of action.
Experience in Litigation Cases
A litigation attorney should have experience in the area of law where you need representation.
While many of the lawyers you see on TV are battling it out in court, a large number of attorneys handle transactional matters or never litigate at all.
Transactional matters include tasks like helping to negotiate a contract, the sale of a business, or a real estate deal, to name a few.
Litigation attorneys must be able to think on his or her feet. That's because there is a lot of things that happen in court on the fly. For example, a judge may make an inquiry about a legal concept or a rule of court.
A litigator with experience can be a valuable addition to your side during a lawsuit.
An Advocate for Your Position
Litigators must be a strong advocate for your position in a lawsuit.
The attorney you hire should be able to identify the legal issues involved in your situation. Based on the legal issues posed by the facts of your case and the law that exists in your area, they will advocate your position.
This advocacy is a crucial element of the legal representation you receive from an attorney. That's because this advocacy extends outside of a courtroom. It is present in all elements of the attorney-client relationship.
Your attorney will represent your best interests in all conversations with opposing counsel. They will also do so during depositions with key witnesses, and in all discovery issues that arise in the lawsuit.
Navigating the Legal System Successfully
A dispute between two parties takes on a whole new meaning when a lawsuit is filed.
In civil court, where judges handle non-criminal cases, a lawsuit begins with the filing of a Complaint and the issuance of a summons. A complaint is served on a defendant or respondent, and the rules of a jurisdiction set forth the timeframe in which that party must respond.
After a defendant or respondent files their responsive pleading with the court, litigation can go many different ways.
Lawsuits can also go on for a considerable amount of time. In fact, complex civil cases with multiple issues can last for years, not days or months. A litigation attorney will help you navigate the legal system while also helping to explain how events that take place impact your position.
Discovery is an important tool to help the parties in a lawsuit learn more about the facts and issues that exist in a case.
There is often discovery that takes place - both written and oral. Written discovery includes requests for production of documents or other items. Interrogatories are written questions are served on a party to learn more about a case. Oral discovery includes the taking of a deposition and other sworn statement.
Each case is factually unique and there are a lot of moving parts to litigation. A litigation attorney must be familiar with the legal system and how new facts impact your case.
They must also be able to apply the law to the facts to have a true sense of the strengths and weaknesses in your case.
Going to Trial
They should also recognize the strengths and weaknesses of a case and have a good understanding of when a case should settle or go to trial.
Going to trial may be tempting at first glance, but a closer look at the risks associated with a trial will help you to make the best decision.
According to a study by the U.S. Justice Department, about 97 percent of civil cases are settled or dismissed without a trial.
This means that taking a case all the way to trial is very rare but it happens. You need a litigator who has tried cases and will take your case to trial if needed.
Wrapping Up: Find the Right Litigation Lawyer
A litigation lawyer can be a valuable asset for you to have in your corner before suit is filed and during litigation.
But it's important for you to find the right lawyer for your unique situation. To do this, you should spend time learning about an attorney and their history. You should also meet with a lawyer before you decide to hire them.
This way you can do a preliminary discussion about your legal issues and ensure they are the right person to represent you.
At Reeves & Lyle, we are experienced litigators who are prepared to represent your interests through all phases of a lawsuit.
Contact us today to learn more about our areas of practice and how we can help you.
*This article is written for informational purposes only and not to provide legal advice or establish an attorney-client relationship.*