civil litigation

civil litigationIf you’ve watched Judge Judy, you may have a Hollywood-tinted vision of what civil litigation is. But there’s a lot more to the story than what you see on TV. Conflict with other human beings – a dispute with a neighbor, for instance, or money lost to an unscrupulous business – is, perhaps, inevitable, but few people relish the idea of taking an issue to court.

We may laugh at some of the more trivial lawsuits that have been filed over the past: those related to hot coffee, dive-bombing seagulls or misplaced pairs of pants. However, there is arguably no worse feeling than that of being deliberately wronged.

Every civil litigation case tells a story and requires a fair and just outcome. An experienced civil litigator can resolve those instances of personal injury or outrage so that we can continue to live in a world in which equity is sought after and valued.  

Several Types of Disputes fall under Civil Litigation

As opposed to criminal trial proceedings, parties in civil litigation suits may not have committed actual crimes. However, these parties may seek financial or other forms of compensation because they feel that they have been grievously wronged. These parties may then become involved in a legal dispute requiring counsel. If arbitration and mediation are not successful, these parties can address their grievances in the courtroom before a judge or jury.

Several types of disputes fall under civil litigation, and law firms typically specialize in one or two practice areas. These areas may include landlord/tenant disputes, product liability lawsuits, claims of personal injury, intellectual property disputes, labor disputes, and others. A licensed attorney, your advocate in a civil litigation suit, will lead you through the process of collecting evidence, attempting mediation if possible, and acting aggressively in your defense if you do need to take a case to trial.

What You Can Expect in Each Stage of Civil Litigation  

The process of civil litigation can take several months from start to finish. It includes the following stages:

    (1) Initial Case Investigation and Assessment

This stage may include gathering documentation, interviewing witnesses, investigating relevant facts of the case, and determining what the next steps might be for the client. In this initial exploration, the litigator will discover the who, what, when, where, and why of each unique case.

    (2) Drafting of Pleadings or Motions on Behalf of the Client

At this stage, the plaintiff will draft a summons  to court, and the defendant is required to respond. The attorney may enter a variety of motions as this stage progresses. These may include motions to dismiss the case, change the venue, or requests for judgments on particular aspects of the case.  

    (3) The Discovery Stage

Despite what you’ve seen on television, lawyers generally spend much more time in this vital stage than they do in an actual courtroom. In this stage of the journey, litigators dig deep to collect information relevant to the case. They draft depositions and subpoenas and interrogate third parties to get the whole story. Through this process, they formulate a strategy for their client, whether they take the case to trial or seek another form of mediation.

    (4) Pretrial Proceedings and Potential Settlement

During the pretrial stage, attorneys are busy lining up witnesses and developing a strategy and theme for the trial to come. If it is determined that the case will not go to trial, the civil litigator will reach a settlement. This entails negotiation with opposing parties, conferences in the presence of a judge, and the creation of settlement agreement documents.

    (5) The Trial

This section is a bit of a misnomer because many civil litigation suits do not go to trial; they are settled amicably through other means. However, when a case does go to trial, the lawyer will fight aggressively on your behalf, finding the weaknesses in the opposing arguments, uncovering the truth of the matter, and presenting a persuasive story to the judge or jury via compelling testimony and evidence.

An Experienced Litigator can Keep Your Dispute Out of Court.

A civil litigator “spends himself in a worthy cause,” as Theodore Roosevelt put it, to gain a favorable outcome for the client. If you find yourself in need of an attorney, you can rely on the team at Zachary Hiller to be your fierce advocates.

We consider how a jury might perceive your situation and creates a comprehensive strategy from that vantage point. By practicing this technique, we have actually been able to avoid lengthy courtroom proceedings. In fact, a cornerstone of our practice is litigation avoidance.

We can spot potential obstacles and come to an advantageous settlement for your unique case. Rely on our expertise if you have an intellectual property dispute or questions about civil litigation.  

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