Litigation attorneys, also known as “litigators,” are the who represent defendants or plaintiffs in civil cases, including resolving labor disputes. But what exactly does a litigator do? They are responsible for managing all phases of the litigation process from investigation process, pleadings and discovery to pre-trial, trial, until settlement and appeal. In short, a litigation attorney is responsible for protecting clients’ rights through the courts.
Litigator differs from a trial lawyer. A litigator may be a trial lawyer and vice versa. However, an attorney doesn’t necessarily have to be both, although many are. A litigator is someone who takes the legal action against people and organization and handles the entire case from start to finish, while a trial lawyer is the one who excels in the courtroom. In some large firms, their roles may be mostly reserved for court appearances while paralegal handles the case preparation.
A litigator is also different from transactional lawyers. If litigator will prepare everything to maximize your chances of getting a favorable decision from the judge, a transactional lawyer informs you what your obligations and rights are when you are dealing with anyone other than the courts or tribunals.
For example, when you want to close a business deal. You want to draft the deal to be the way you want it as much as possible. The transactional lawyer will help you make the draft of the contract, so you have a legal leg to stand on if the business deal goes off the track. A well-drafted contract is the one that “stands up in court,” and the court will carry it out as close to your vision as possible. In the end, when there is a dispute, you may go through the court system to resolve it, and litigators will do their job.
During litigation, a litigator will undertake several diverse tasks. The tasks will vary based on the nature of the dispute. It also depends on the level of experience of the litigator and whether the litigator is representing the defendant or the plaintiff.
So, what exactly does a litigator do? As what has been mentioned before, there are several tasks that must be done by the litigators, such as the following.
- Initial case investigation/assessment
Litigators will do an initial case investigation to determine whether the evidence is enough to file a lawsuit or defend a potential suit.
Litigators draft a variety of motions and pleadings on behalf of the defendant or plaintiff.
This process involves exchanging relevant information between the parties to gain information relevant to the lawsuit. Litigator will draft the discovery-related motions to help them identify issues and formulate a case strategy.
During the last weeks before trial, litigators will wrap up all the discovery to prepare for the trial, conduct pre-trial depositions of key witnesses and experts, prepare trial exhibits, and also draft and argue pre-trial motions.
When the lawsuit proceeds to trial, litigators will make a strategy and identify the benefits and drawbacks of the case, develop persuasive arguments, prepare for the testimonies from the witnesses, and also draft and argue trial motions. However, most of the civil lawsuits never reach trial, but instead, are settled supposing to eliminate the risk and expense of a trial.
Lastly, if the litigators do not obtain an agreeable outcome at trial, they may appeal the case. However, if the case is particularly complex or significant, litigators may ask for the assistance of attorneys who specialize in appellate practice.
Source: Smart Legal Consulting