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Civil Litigation Attorneys

Civil litigation is when two or more parties become embroiled in a non-criminal legal dispute.  The case is presented at a trial where plaintiffs seek compensation, equitable relief, or other damages from defendants. 

The standard of proof is less stringent in civil proceedings as opposed to criminal proceedings. An attorney who handles civil litigation is known as a “litigator” or a litigation attorney, or trial attorney.  Great civil litigators assume oppositional positions, embracing both conflict and controversy. Attorneys in civil cases must meet a preponderance of the evidence standard,  simply present more convincing evidence to a judge or jury than the opposing party. They serve as their client’s advocate, obligated to fight for them to achieve the best possible outcome. Litigation attorneys often represent their clients across a variety of associated proceedings, including pretrial hearings and depositions, as well as arbitration and mediation

A great litigator has knowledge of substantive and procedural law, strong written and oral advocacy skills, analytical and logical reasoning abilities and the ability to synthesize complex legal and factual materials.  They also must have great interpersonal skills and a strong ability to perform legal research. Most importantly, they need to have strong negotiation skills.  A litigator must know when the right time to try a case as well as the right time to settle a case. 

Civil litigation involves many steps.  Before filing a lawsuit, an attorney must investigate the facts to determine if there is a “winnable” case.  After filing the lawsuit, attorneys conduct discovery as part of pretrial proceedings, sometimes even including depositions of witnesses or opposing parties.  Discovery can be very costly but serves an important position in the litigation case.  Sometimes, litigation matters can’t be settled for various reasons and trials must occur.  If either party is unhappy with the decision of the trial court, a civil litigation attorney can file an appeal.  Some civil litigation matters can be settled quickly, while others take several years before going to trial and then several more years while on appeal.