A litigation lawyer is a lawyer who will represent you if you’re part of a case that involves a dispute. Litigation lawyers are prepared to go to trial if needed, but will also negotiate and work on settling your case before trial becomes necessary.
A litigation lawyer is different from a transactional lawyer, who handles legal matters with others in which both parties are on common terms. For example, a transactional lawyer may help you draft a will, negotiate a business agreement, or apply for a re-zoning permit. However, when there has been a dispute, either in an agreement made with the help of a transactional lawyer or something else, a litigation lawyer steps in to ensure you receive what you deserve based on the law.
Civil litigation involves several stages, and a good litigation lawyer is competent in all phases of civil litigation.
Litigation Case Investigation
Evidence is paramount in civil litigation, and whether you intend to file a lawsuit or you are the one being sued, a litigation attorney spends the first part of a case analyzing evidence to determine if enough evidence exists to either file a lawsuit or defend a potential lawsuit. Before a lawsuit can be filed, the legal theories surrounding the case must be well-grounded in both fact and law.
A litigation lawyer will go through an extensive process of collecting and studying evidence. This can involve talking to witnesses, examining documents, interviewing the client, and more.
If a litigation lawyer determines there is enough legal grounds to proceed, they will enter the discovery process. In this phase, the two parties exchange information and documentation. During this time, the lawyer formulates a case strategy.
In discovery, your litigation lawyer can request documents, conduct interrogatories (questions answered in writing, under oath), examine physical evidence, inspect the scene where an accident took place, and more.
This is also a phase where litigation lawyers can file motions to resolve or narrow certain issues of the trial.
Most litigation lawyers will work to achieve a settlement, and the majority of civil lawsuits can actually be settled out of court. This is often better for both parties because it allows both parties to agree to terms they can live with. In a court trial, this is not always the case. Trial is also much more expensive than settlement. However, while working towards negotiations, a good litigation attorney will also always prepare for the possibility of a trial.
In trial, a litigation lawyer determines the strengths and weaknesses in a case and presents persuasive arguments that highlight the strengths of the case. Using witness testimonies, evidence, and a persuasive presentation of the facts, a litigation lawyer works to convince the judge or jury to rule in favor of his or her client.
The verdict in a trial may sometimes be subject to an appeal. In this case, you’ll still need a litigation lawyer to help you draft post-trial motions, determine the issues up for appeal, develop strategies, gather evidence for the appellate record, research, and present your case.
Sometimes the details of an appeal are so nuanced, a litigation lawyer will bring in the expertise of a lawyer who specializes in appellate practice.
If you’re involved in a civil lawsuit, it’s critical you hire a litigation lawyer who can manage all these necessary tasks to your benefit. A litigation lawyer must have strong communication, collaboration, and analytical skills. He or she must also be well versed in negotiation and have vast experience in civil litigation lawsuits.
Ben Carrasco is an Austin litigation lawyer with all the skill, knowledge, and experience you need to win your lawsuit.