Without being exposed to, or having to enlist the aid of a lawyer, seldom are many exposed to the many facets of the judicial system, the roles certain individuals play within the judicial system or the terms used among law professionals.
Two terms which are most often confused are lawsuit and litigation. While a litigation takes place during the process of a lawsuit, the term itself is described as the proceeding in which one party has made the decision to enforce or defend their rights against another party. It is at this time when the process of a litigation commences.
During the process of a litigation, there are many steps leading up to the litigation itself including the pre-suit litigation, negation, ADR (or alternative dispute resolution), the lawsuit, a motion practice, the trial, and finally, the post trial.
The Responsibilities Of A Litigation Lawyer
While there are many specialties a lawyer can choose to specialize in, there are only two types of lawyers – a transactional lawyer and a litigation lawyer.
Transactional lawyers are appointed to assist with matters pertaining to creating contracts, agreements, and ensuring the legal compliance between all parties.
A litigation lawyer, however, is appointed to defend or enforce the rights of an individual or company which can take place in or outside of a courtroom.
Depending on the nature of the claims set forth, and which party the litigation lawyer is acting on behalf, the plaintiff or the defendant, the role of a litigation lawyer can vary during the process of a litigation.
For the purpose of this article we have outlined each area of the litigation with a brief overview of what each process entails as well as detail what the role of the litigation lawyer is during each stage.
The pre lawsuit litigation is considered as the point in which one party has filed a claim alleging that another party has not fulfilled the legal rights of the opposing party.
It is during this time when the litigation lawyer of the plaintiff will review the allegations of their client and begin to gather evidence to support the claim of their client. This can include completing an investigation, gathering witnesses, collecting and preparing statements.
A litigation lawyer can also prepare a demand letter detailing the compensation or action that needs to be taken by the defendant.
The cost of a trial is a great expense as well as time-consuming. It is most ideal for a lawsuit to be settled outside of the court.
During litigation, a pre lawsuit negotiation will be conducted to curb, so to speak, the financial burden of having a lawsuit go to trial. In a negotiation, the litigation lawyer of the plaintiff will present the demand letter and request compensation or action to be taken. The litigation lawyer of the defendant can counter with a value which the defendant is able to pay to the plaintiff.
Often, the compensation requested by the plaintiff will be of a large value, this is to assist with the likelihood of coming to a realistic value which the defendant can afford.
ADR Or Alternative Dispute Resolution
Similar to the pre lawsuit negotiation phase, an alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, will be encouraged to reduce the financial strain of having the lawsuit go to trial.
It is during this time when both the plaintiff and defendant, including both parties litigation lawyers, will present their case to a facilitator and mediator. The facilitator and mediator can either consist of one attorney or a panel of attorneys.
The purpose of the ADR is to provide the opportunity for a mediator to decide on a settlement figure which he or she finds to be of reasonable value.
During the discovery phase both parties will prepare and exchange evidence, written questions, and a request for admission. The request for admission is a formal request put forth by one party detailing formal admissions to particular areas of the case.It also during the discovery phase when either party can request for third party witnesses.
The questions and answer portion of the discovery phase is referred to as the deposition. During this time the questions and answers are documented and transcribed to be used as a point of reference should it be required.
In the event a lawsuit moves to trial, both parties including their respective litigation lawyer will stand before a judge and jury.
The plaintiff’s litigation lawyer will present first – sharing an opening statement, disclosing all evidence, and calling on witnesses to the stand. The defendant’s counsel will then present their case and have the opportunity to cross examine witnesses.
Once all evidence has been presented and the witnesses have given their testimony, the plaintiff and defendant parties will provide closing arguments. At this point the jury will deliberate and prepare a final verdict. The verdict will be the final outcome of the case.
Once the trial has completed, litigation will continue. This can be the time when the defendant formally compensates the plaintiff in which the funds are collected and distributed.
However, if the defendant is not satisfied with the outcome of the case, the defendant’s litigation lawyer can file an appeal to the court.
What To Do Should You Find Yourself In A Lawsuit
A litigation can go on for months and sometimes even years. Without the expertise of a litigation lawyer or experienced law firm, the financial burden you may need to take on could be costly and maybe unnecessary.
It is important that you do your research to find a lawyer is a part of a law firm who has a proven track record of success.
Should you find yourself in a lawsuit, don’t wait to take action, contact our law firm immediately to discuss how we can help you through the tedious process of litigation.