Are you wondering what a litigation attorney does and how they are different from other legal professionals? There are more than 1.35 million licensed attorneys in the United States but there is a wide range of areas of the law.
If you have ever watched a TV series like Law & Order, you may be curious about the kind of lawyers you see in the show and if that is the normal lifestyle for an attorney.
Read on to learn the difference between the litigation lawyer definition and what a litigator does as part of their day-to-day practice of law.
Litigation vs. Transactional Attorneys
A litigation lawyer practices law in a very different way when compared to a transactional attorney. Litigators are attorneys that handle legal disputes that turn into lawsuits.
Before a lawsuit, a litigator may prepare a demand letter that sets forth his or her client’s position in a dispute. Once the demand letter is received by a defendant or their counsel, a litigator will speak with the other side.
During those conversations, a litigator will argue his client’s position and try to resolve it through negotiating a settlement in the best interest of their client.
On the other hand, a transactional attorney will handle transactions between parties. These are things like contract negotiations and drafting, and the preparation of leases and sales agreements.
A purely transactional attorney will never be in a courtroom, whereas a litigator will spend a fair amount of their career going in and out of those places.
What It Takes to Be a Litigation Lawyer
To be a successful business litigation lawyer someone needs a unique mix of education, experience, and being able to think on their feet. They must also have discipline and great time management skills.
Just like lawyers in most states, a litigator must graduate from an ABA-accredited law school and pass the bar exam. They must also be in good standing with the state bar in the state where they practice.
Being a quick thinker is crucial to success as a litigation attorney. Litigators attend court often for hearings, trials, and other court proceedings. During these events, a lawyer will be asked questions on the fly and must respond to them accurately and creatively.
Finally, litigators will always be working around deadlines in and out of court in their cases. This means he or she will need to understand how much time tasks will take in a case and how that impacts other things they are doing.
An FDCPA Litigation Lawyer will also need to be well-versed in the FDCPA and understand how to avoid violating federal law during debt collection activity.
The Litigation Process
A business litigation lawyer must understand the litigation process and how this can impact your case. A lawsuit begins with the filing of a complaint. This sets forth the allegations against a defendant or a group of defendants.
After a litigator files the complaint, the Clerk will issue a summons for each defendant in the case. Litigation attorneys will then need to serve process under the law.
This means serving a copy of the summons and complaint on the defendant. This ensures a defendant has proper notice of the allegations and a right to respond. After a defendant answers the Complaint, a litigation attorney will begin conducting discovery.
The discovery process can be a long and expensive one. It can also be important in a lawsuit. A litigator will start the paper discovery and also take depositions or file motions.
Some of the most important events leading up to a trial are the mediation conference or binding arbitration. These are alternative dispute options that allow parties to resolve a lawsuit before it gets in the hands of a judge or jury later.
Going to Trial
If a litigator cannot resolve your lawsuit at a mediation or arbitration, the next step in court proceedings is to go to trial. Did you know that 95 percent of cases are resolved without a trial?
There are only a small amount of trials each year but a litigation attorney must be ready to go to trial if needed. Most of what is on TV and in the news are jury trials, and in the real world there are large amounts of non-jury trials too.
A non-jury trial is sometimes called a bench trial because it takes place in front of a judge only. During a jury trial, a jury will compose a panel of people listening to evidence and reaching a verdict.
Litigation attorneys then call witnesses for their respective cases during the trial. They will also use trial techniques and procedures to cross-examine witnesses. They do this to expose missing parts in their testimony and raise doubt about their honesty.
One of the best ways to understand the litigation lawyer definition is to think about a litigator being someone in the courtroom. A transactional lawyer is one that you can envision working in their office. They perform tasks like drafting a contract before all parties sign it.
There is generally a lot riding on a lawyer’s work on any given day. This is particularly true when a litigator is preparing for trial. Some parts of preparing are talking with witnesses or other attorneys about the issues in a case.
Understanding the Litigation Lawyer Definition
When you hire a litigation attorney, you will want one with a history of trying cases. They also need to be known for obtaining results in your area. They need to have a reputation as someone who isn’t afraid to go to trial. That’s because, in the event of mediation or arbitration impasse, the next step will be going to trial.
Do you want to learn more about other unique aspects of lawsuits and how you can find the best lawyer for your case? Check out our blog section for other great tips and tricks to put to use in your next dispute today!