If you are facing a lawsuit as either the plaintiff or the defendant, you should consider consulting with experienced and local civil lawyers. It is important that you consult with an area attorney, because they will be best suited to understanding your state’s specific laws regarding the matter. An experienced civil lawyer can help you through every step of the process, and will represent you in court as needed.
The firm’s practice spans virtually all areas of civil litigation. The firm’s attorneys find themselves on both the plaintiff and defense sides of the docket, involved in tort, contract, regulatory and appellate matters on a regular basis. The firm’s lawyers are experienced litigators committed to achieving successful results in a cost-effective manner on behalf of the firm’s business and individual clients. The firm represents clients in matters pending before Texas state, federal trial and appellate courts in all aspects of business issues-including antitrust, trade secrets, business regulations and contract disputes, as well as insurance disputes and litigation, employment law, products liability and toxic torts, professional malpractice, construction law, and election and campaign law. Facing Criminal Charges? Get Help Today Need help? Call us today 476-4873
Civil litigation involves any court proceeding that is not criminal in nature. Civil litigation may involve a car accident where injuries were sustained, a broken contract, a real estate dispute, a divorce, or a variety of other circumstances where someone is seeking to recover money or some other sort of remedy for damages they have incurred. In other words, when you say that you are looking for a civil attorney, that could mean almost anything. Some Illinois lawyers focus on general litigation. Some focus on wrongful death lawsuits. Some work in collections. All of them are civil lawyers.
Our Florida insurance claims lawyers have experience in dealing with insurance companies and requiring them to act in a manner commensurate with the regulations set forth by the Florida Legislature and Department of Financial Responsibility. Insurance companies are there for your benefit, and if you have an appropriate insurance claim, we can litigate that claim to make sure you receive the benefits to which you are entitled. We specialize in first- and third- party property insurance claims. With over 20 years of experience, our attorneys have experience representing both the insurance companies and the policyholders.
In terms of business law, a civil attorney may also be the best option when a business is involved in a real estate transaction. An example of this would be acquiring another business, or purchasing a piece of property. A civil attorney can negotiate with a landlord or the opposing counsel on behalf of their client. Additionally, they can draft and review final agreements, as well as provide representation in court should any disputes arise during the negotiation process.
After being served with the summons, defendant has a limited number of days to respond to, or answer the plaintiff’s complaint. Once these documents are filed with the court, the discovery phase begins. Discovery is basically the gathering of information through a series of questions, which the parties will then be able to use to build their case when it proceeds to trial.
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In some cases, individuals can handle issues like a simple divorce or an estate settlement without involving a civil litigation attorney. In other situations where the stakes are high, a lawyer is necessary to ensure your interests are protected.
This is FindLaw’s collection of Civil Litigation articles, part of the Litigation and Disputes section of the Corporate Counsel Center. What Is Civil Litigation? Civil litigation is the process in which civil matters are resolved in a court of law. Civil matters can be described as situations dealing with relationships between people, such as a marriage, or a contract dispute between corporations. Rather than a case being a person versus the government, as in a criminal matter, civil cases are an individual or business filing suit against another individual or business.
A process called voir dire begins a trial. It is the process of selecting a jury. Litigators then present their cases in court, giving opening and closing statements to the judge or jury, examining and cross-examining witnesses, and crafting their version of the case through testimony and evidence. Litigation attorneys might also conduct post-trial interviews of the jury.
At any point during the civil litigation process, the involved parties can elect to settle their dispute out of court, officially ending the case as soon as an agreement is made. Depending on various factors, including who the plaintiff(s) and defendant(s) are and the nature of their dispute, various approaches to the out-of-court settlement process may be appropriate.
After both sides have finished their discovery process, the case heads to pre-trial. This is when your attorney and the attorney for the other party begin negotiations. Sometimes they can reach an agreeable settlement in the pre-trial phase, saving you from the frustrations and costs of court. During the pre-trial stage, either party can also use motions to ask the court to make a ruling or dismiss parts of the case before it actually heads to trial.
Much of a litigator’s time is devoted to the discovery stage, during which information pertinent to the case is gathered through depositions, interrogatories, and subpoenas. Depositions and interrogatories involve questions posed under penalty of perjury to the parties in a lawsuit, and a subpoena is a summons demanding information or documents from a third party. Deposition questions are posed orally under oath, and interrogatories are written questions.
Litigation attorneys, also known as litigators or trial lawyers, represent plaintiffs and defendants in civil lawsuits. They manage all phases of the litigation from the investigation, pleadings, and discovery through the pre-trial, trial, settlement, and appeal processes. Tasks can vary based on the nature of the dispute, the experience of the attorney, and whether he’s representing the plaintiff or the defendant. Education and Training A litigation lawyer must have achieved her juris doctor degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association. It means first earning a four-year degree in addition to three additional years in law school. Attorneys must then pass the bar exam and be admitted to the bar in the state in which they wish to practice. It’s often helpful to be admitted to the bar in neighboring states as well for a wider potential client base and increased job opportunities. Initial Case Assessment and Investigation Litigation attorneys in a plaintiff’s case often conduct an initial case investigation to determine if enough evidence exists to warrant filing a lawsuit. In a defendant’s case, he’ll assess what evidence exists to defend a potential or existing suit against his client. The investigation process can include locating witnesses, taking witness statements, gathering documents, interviewing the client, and investigating the facts leading to the dispute. Litigation attorneys often engage in pre-litigation settlement discussions to attempt to resolve the matter before a lawsuit is filed. Drafting Pleadings A variety of pleadings and motions must be filed with the court on behalf of both the plaintiff or the defendant in a lawsuit. Plaintiff attorneys will draft and file a summons and complaint to initiate the lawsuit, and defense attorneys typically draft answers and sometimes counterclaims in response to that initial complaint. Defense attorneys collaborate with their clients to investigate the allegations of the lawsuit to formulate these responses. Litigation attorneys might also draft a variety of pretrial motions, including motions to strike or dismiss evidence or to change the venue or location of the trial. They might file motions for judgments rendered on the basis of the pleadings, so no court appearance is necessary. The Discovery Process The discovery portion of a lawsuit involves the exchange of all relevant information between the parties. Litigation attorneys employ a variety of discovery devices to gain this information. These methods can include interrogatories, a series of written questions that the other party to the lawsuit must answer—also in writing and under penalty of perjury. It can include depositions which involve oral questions typically presented by the other attorney in an office setting, again answered under oath. Other common methods of discovery include requests for documents that are in the possession of the other party as well as requests for admission—asking the other party to admit to or deny certain aspects of the case in writing and under oath. Litigation attorneys might also examine physical evidence and collect, process, and analyze information gathered during e-discovery. Most often, however, they rely on experts to provide these services. The experts submit written reports that can then be used at trial or they might be called to testify at trial. Litigation attorneys also draft and argue discovery-related motions including motions to compel the other side to respond to discovery requests if they haven’t done so within a specified time period. These discovery processes help litigators gain relevant information, identify issues, and formulate a case strategy. Pre-Trial Tasks The weeks immediately preceding trial are a time to wrap up discovery and prepare for court. Litigators consult with and advise clients, retain expert witnesses, attend pre-trial conferences, and develop trial strategies based on the facts and evidence. They might also conduct pre-trial depositions of experts and key witnesses, prepare demonstrative evidence to be used as trial exhibits, and draft and argue pre-trial motions such as those dealing with the admissibility of certain evidence at trial. Trial: Almost the Final Stage When cases proceed to trial, litigation attorneys are busy around the clock presenting their case before the judge or preparing for the next day in court. Litigators collaborate with experts and clients to craft a trial theme. They identify the strengths and weaknesses of a case and develop persuasive arguments. They prepare witnesses and their clients for testimony. A process called voir dire begins a trial. It is the process of selecting a jury. Litigators then present their cases in court, giving opening and closing statements to the judge or jury, examining and cross-examining witnesses, and crafting their version of the case through testimony and evidence. Litigation attorneys might also conduct post-trial interviews of the jury. The Possibility of Settlement Most cases never reach trial but instead are settled to eliminate the risk and expense of going to court. Litigation attorneys can settle a case at any time during the life cycle of a lawsuit. Litigators will engage in negotiations with opposing parties and sometimes participate in mediation and settlement conferences with the judge. They’ll create settlement brochures, agreements, releases, and other materials to memorialize any agreement that’s reached. The Appeals Process An attorney might appeal the case for her client if the trial goes badly, but he can’t do so simply because she doesn’t like the outcome. She must present evidence as to why the trial court’s decision was wrong in some way based on issues such as certain evidence being admitted at trial when it should not have been. Litigators might draft post-trial motions, identify and preserve issues for appeal, develop appellate strategies, gather evidence for the appellate record, research procedural issues, draft appellate documents, and present oral arguments before appellate courts. If the case is particularly significant or complex, litigators might retain the assistance of attorneys who specialize in appellate practice.
For all civil actions it is important to remember that there is a time limit to file a lawsuit. It is different for every type of case. Failure to file a lawsuit in time could result in your case being barred forever. In addition, if you are the defendant in a civil lawsuit, it is very important that you or your attorney show up to every court date. If you fail to do so it could result in a default judgment which basically means that the plaintiff will likely get everything they are looking for, even if it is wrong. They will win because you won’t be there to counter anything they are saying.
Litigation attorneys, also known as litigators or trial lawyers, represent plaintiffs and defendants in civil lawsuits. They manage all phases of the litigation from the investigation, pleadings, and discovery through the pre-trial, trial, settlement, and appeal processes.
What Does A Civil Litigation Attorney Do? An attorney specializing in civil litigation is also called a “litigator” or a “trial lawyer.” Florida civil litigation attorneys represent individuals or businesses in non-criminal cases. The responsibilities of a civil litigation attorney can be challenging. Lawyers specializing in civil litigation must be willing to assume oppositional roles, embracing contention and controversy. They act as their client’s advocate, obligated to fight diligently to achieve the best possible outcome. Attorneys practicing in this field often work long grueling hours, especially during a trial. Civil Litigation attorneys often represent their clients across a variety of associated proceedings, including pre-trial hearings, depositions, settlement conferences, as well as mediation and arbitration. The mediation and arbitration processes are geared toward aiding the two parties in reaching a settlement rather than investing the additional time and expense of going to court.
Once the opening investigation is completed, the next stage is the pleadings phase. Pleadings are the legal documents that establish the facts of the dispute as well as the parties involved in it. Examples of pleadings include the complaint, answer, counterclaim, third-party complaint, or crossclaim.
In civil litigation, the attorney’s role is multi-faceted. At the initial consultation, the attorney helps an individual determine if their case has merit or if they have the standing to fight against accusations brought against them. If the case moves forward, the attorney begins the tedious process of gathering evidence and interviewing people about the case. The attorney also helps prepare all of the documentation, including the brief, complaint, or answer. Finally, the attorney represents the individual in court, presenting evidence, questioning witnesses, and making the opening and closing statements. Choosing a qualified attorney is critical to presenting a solid case with clear evidence and achieving a positive verdict.
Embroiled in a financial dispute? If this is your situation, make sure you talk to everyone. Ask around everywhere and be sure you can trust who you’re talking to. Find a civil litigation lawyer or a law firm with experience in this area. Make sure you feel that you will be able to trust this lawyer with your particular needs. Remember, feelings about money run very deep.
Arbitration is a step up from mediation and is often ordered when there are sensitive elements to the case or technical knowledge is required to reach a decision. Instead of the case being held in court, it will be held in a small tribunal, and the arbitrator’s decision will be legally binding. Some contracts may have an arbitration clause which states that disputes must be solved through arbitration.
Civil litigation is the process in which civil matters are resolved in a court of law. Civil matters can be described as situations dealing with relationships between people, such as a marriage, or a contract dispute between corporations. Rather than a case being a person versus the government, as in a criminal matter, civil cases are an individual or business filing suit against another individual or business.
Real estate matters that might require a civil litigation lawyer include commercial developers, injuries, and condominium laws, to name a few. You may need to reach out and contact an experienced civil litigation lawyer who is familiar with real estate disputes and find out their success rate.
As long as both sides agree, the parties may settle their case at any time and at any stage of the litigation. You can settle as early as the day you get served the lawsuit, or as late as after closing arguments when the jury is in deliberations.
At this stage, it may also be possible to pursue an out-of-court settlement in order to avoid the length and expense of a trial. In the District of Columbia, the court orders the parties to attend mediation at the close of discovery and before trial. In the event is not possible to reach a settlement, the case may continue to trial.
DC Civil Litigation Lawyer Civil disputes can be incredibly difficult to resolve whether you are a plaintiff or defendant, and especially if you have little to no prior experience with these types of cases. Seeking professional assistance with these matters could help you resolve your case quickly while effectively pursuing your desired outcome. Whether you require assistance dealing with a breach of contract matter, business litigation, or another civil dispute, a DC civil litigation lawyer could provide the knowledge and vigilant advocacy needed to pursue a favorable outcome. Speak with an attorney today to discover what determined representation could do for your case. Types of Civil Litigation Cases The civil litigation process allows a person or business to hold another party or parties legally liable for wrongdoing by pursuing financial or equitable damages. There are numerous types of civil litigation cases which may require the assistance of a skilled DC attorney. Common examples of civil litigation matters include: Property disputes Contract disputes Corporate/Business litigation Insurance litigation Construction disputes Shareholder or Partnership disputes Non-Compete/Non-Disclosure Agreements Dissolution or Partnership Wind-up Landlord/tenant disputes Intellectual property and trademark disputes Overview of the DC Civil Litigation Process It is important to understand that the exact litigation process may vary depending on the nature of the individual’s case. However, the civil litigation process goes through the same general main stages, which legal counsel could go over in further detail during an initial consultation. Opening Investigation If the client is the plaintiff in the case, the first thing their local civil litigation attorney would do is investigate their claim to determine whether sufficient evidence exists to initiate a lawsuit. In the event the client is being sued, the attorney would instead exhaust all available strategies to form the most vigorous defense possible. Sometimes, it may even be possible to bring a counterclaim against the suing party or entity. Pleadings Phase Once the opening investigation is completed, the next stage is the pleadings phase. Pleadings are the legal documents that establish the facts of the dispute as well as the parties involved in it. Examples of pleadings include the complaint, answer, counterclaim, third-party complaint, or crossclaim. In order to initiate a lawsuit during this stage, a plaintiff must secure a summons from the Court and then prepare and file a complaint. In order to contest a lawsuit filed against them, a defendant must formally answer the plaintiff’s complaint or otherwise move to dismiss it, or else they risk having a default judgment entered against them in favor of the other party. Discovery Phase The next phase is discovery, during which the attorneys for each party conduct an extensive investigation for evidence and review documents from both sides. During the discovery phase, pertinent documents may be requested, depositions taken, and other vital information, such as expert witness opinions, is exchanged between the parties. Pre-Trial Stage Once discovery has ended, the pre-trial stage commences. At this point, both attorneys engage in a pre-trial conference with the judge, and the parties refine their positions in anticipation of a trial, identifying all the evidence and witnesses they intend to use to help them win the case. During this stage in the civil litigation process, a qualified lawyer in DC could present motions and ask the court to reach a decision on discrete issues of law or facts that may affect the outcome of the case. For example, a motion for summary judgement could ask the judge to dismiss the case outright or make certain legal rulings based on undisputed facts, or motions may attempt to exclude certain evidence from trial. At this stage, it may also be possible to pursue an out-of-court settlement in order to avoid the length and expense of a trial. In the District of Columbia, the court orders the parties to attend mediation at the close of discovery and before trial. In the event is not possible to reach a settlement, the case may continue to trial. Trial Trial proceedings often start with preliminary motions, which address evidentiary issues and with jury selection, followed by opening statements from each party’s attorney. A local civil litigation attorney would present the theory of the case and the full range of evidence, including documents and witnesses, before the court. Once both sides have presented their case before the court, each attorney enters their closing arguments, and the judge issues jury instructions. Finally, if it is a jury trial, the jury deliberates on the matter before entering a binding final verdict. If not, the judge issues his or her ruling from the bench, and that ruling is entered into the record. Entering an Appeal When a final verdict is entered, it naturally follows that one party may be unsatisfied with the judgement or with how the court managed the case or ruled on a particular motion or matter. If so, that party may appeal the civil ruling to a higher appellate court. It is crucial that any party who wishes to file an appeal retain qualified legal representation to handle each phase of this complex process, as there are critical timelines and procedures that must be followed if an appeal is going to be properly docketed. Resolving Civil Cases Outside of Court At any point during the civil litigation process, the involved parties can elect to settle their dispute out of court, officially ending the case as soon as an agreement is made. Depending on various factors, including who the plaintiff(s) and defendant(s) are and the nature of their dispute, various approaches to the out-of-court settlement process may be appropriate. Ideally, both parties to a civil dispute are interested in an equitable outcome and willing to work together in good faith to achieve such a result, in which case a few rounds of private negotiations with guidance from legal counsel may be enough to set everything straight. In many cases, it helps to bring in a third-party mediator to make sure private discussions stay on track and that both parties’ best interests are given due respect throughout the process. In more adversarial situations, as well as in some circumstances mandated by the terms of a contract, two parties may undergo arbitration, which entails a neutral arbitrator essentially serving the same role a judge would in court to make a binding decision on a civil matter. Finally, a settlement conference between all parties involved, their legal counsel, and the judge overseeing their case could potentially resolve a dispute before the civil litigation process progresses all the way to trial. Seeking Damages or Equitable Remedies Depending on the type of civil litigation case filed, both equitable and legal damages may be available. Equitable remedies may be awarded when the court grants relief in the form of an injunction, which is an order obliging the other party to cease an action or to take a particular action. On the other hand, economic damages may involve some form of monetary compensation when the claimant has incurred financial losses. A seasoned civil litigation attorney in DC could help an individual understand what types of damages may apply in their particular situation and how to structure the case to obtain maximum recovery or minimize damages entirely depending on the case. What Role Does Legal Counsel Play? Whether a case concludes in or out of court, skilled legal representation can serve as an essential resource every step of the way. Laws and regulations governing civil matters, especially those pertaining to contracts, fiduciary duties, and business litigation, can be almost impossible for an untrained layperson to interpret by themselves, let alone leverage in a way that serves their best interests. Even before a case formally starts, a knowledgeable civil litigation lawyer in the District could provide a fair and honest appraisal of whether a plaintiff has valid grounds to file suit, or what kinds of options a defendant has for contesting such a lawsuit. Once litigation is underway, professional assistance is vital when it comes to tracking down key evidence and testimony, presenting motions to the court, and working to achieve a favorable final resolution. Discuss Your Case with a DC Civil Litigation Attorney Even though there are no criminal consequences like jail time involved, the financial, professional, and personal implications of civil litigation can be life-altering no matter which side of the case you are on. In order to pursue an optimal outcome, you should consider retaining assistance from a legal professional who has handled situations like yours successfully before. If you have grounds for a civil case, or if someone is pursuing a legal action against you, it is vital to speak with a DC civil litigation lawyer as soon as possible. Call today to discuss your potential case and find out more about your legal options. 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