At Resolvere, a litigation lawyer is well versed in the Rules of Procedure, in some cases the Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure, and Local Rules of Practice for courts in Arizona in order that he or she can represent clients in lawsuits and during various legal proceedings. With a litigation background, our attorneys have experience in a range of civil matters, from fraud and embezzlement claims to contracts, property disputes, and construction defects, as well as business disputes and real estate agreements. It is vital to seek out a litigation attorney with a strong background in the specific type of case you are facing, so you can receive the best possible legal assistance.
Litigation attorneys uphold their client’s interests in the courtroom and handle all aspects of the legal process, from pre-trial discovery to jury selection (if applicable) to closing arguments. They also may handle settlement negotiations or mediate disputes between parties, including alternative dispute resolution and binding arbitration, whether administered by entities such as the American Arbitration Association (AAA) or privately arranged mediation. Litigation attorneys have strong negotiation skills and can often settle a case before a trial/hearing becomes necessary. However, when a trial or hearing is required, they have the extensive procedural and legal knowledge to successfully represent their client in court.
If you are facing a legal dispute and need a determined advocate for your case, a litigation attorney may be the right choice for you. Read on to learn more about the many steps involved in a lawsuit and how a skilled Phoenix-area litigation lawyer at Resolvere can help simplify the process for you.
What Skills Should a Litigation Attorney Have?
Courtroom trials and administrative or arbitration hearings move fast, and unexpected information or situations may arise. Resolvere’s litigation attorneys must be well versed in engaging expert witnesses and consultants, while remaining resourceful and able to think on their feet. They must also be excellent at oral and written communication, as they constantly interact with clients, opposing counsel, and the court. Emotions often run high during lawsuits and negotiations, and it is critical for a litigator to have strategies for defusing potentially explosive situations and the ability to handle delicate matters with tact and firmness.
Another crucial aspect of legal disputes is time management. Courts and private dispute resolution contracts place strict filing deadlines on claims, and can require fees and costs to be apportioned in certain ways. A failure to complete the proper forms and procedures within the specified time limit can result in a case being dismissed. Your litigation attorney is responsible for ensuring that your case follows the applicable rules and meets all requirements for evidence and filing.
Other essential skills litigation attorneys must possess include:
- Analytical skills
- Problem-solving abilities
- Strong research and organizational skills
- Minute attention to detail
How Does the Litigation Process Proceed?
If you are considering pursuing a legal claim against another party or if you have been named in a lawsuit, administrative claim, or arbitration proceeding, it is vital to understand the litigation process. There are some general steps that all litigation cases follow.
Filing a Complaint
The first step in any litigation case is for the plaintiff (the party bringing the suit) to file a complaint with the court or bring an appropriate arbitration demand. The complaint is a description of the case that explains what allegedly occurred, how the actions allegedly harmed the plaintiff, and their desired outcome for the claim. Arizona court rules govern the commencement of an action and include duties of counsel and the parties, in addition to how records can be sealed, and how time is calculated with regard to deadlines. In a court case, the defendant will be served with the complaint and a summons.
Once received, the defendant will have a certain amount of time to file a response with the court. This response will either be an answer to the complaint, including defenses and objections, or a motion to dismiss the complaint. The defendant’s answer can also include counterclaims against the plaintiff. If the court finds no reason to dismiss the case, it will continue to the next step. Whereas arbitration rules vary and depend upon the particular rules that apply in each individual claim
After both sides have met with the court or arbitrator to discuss deadlines and any other important issues, they will engage in a process called “discovery.” Discovery is a way for each legal team to obtain information from the other side and from third parties that may be relevant to the case.
The discovery period is often a lengthy process as the attorneys gather the evidence needed to take the case to trial/hearing. They may speak to witnesses, request documents, or ask you to undergo a medical examination. You may also be required to perform interviews with the opposing counsel either through written questions or a live interrogation under oath known as a deposition. Your litigation attorney will ensure that you understand the process and will help you prepare, accordingly.
As discovery is occurring and your attorney is amassing more information to support your case, they will also be attempting to negotiate a settlement to the claim. Settlements may be directly negotiated with the other side or may utilize the services of a mediator or other neutral party. Over 97% of claims settle prior to trial, so it is likely that your case will be resolved beforehand.
If the case is not resolved through settlement or some other means before trial/hearing, it will ultimately be decided by a judge, jury, or arbitrator. Before the trial/hearing, both attorneys will provide their briefs to the judge/arbitrator, often in a joint document. Briefs are documents that outline each side’s arguments and what evidence they will present. Depending on the case’s complexity, the actual trial/hearing can last anywhere from days to weeks.
Once the trial/hearing is complete, the judge, jury, or arbitrator will present their verdict/decision. If a court or arbitrator rules in your favor, you will likely be awarded a judgment, and your litigation attorney will help you determine how that will be collected and distributed. If either side disagrees with a court or jury verdict, they may file an appeal to have the case reviewed by a higher court, which may prolong the process. Arbitration decisions are not appealable in most instances.
When Should I Contact a Litigation Lawyer?
Many different types of legal disputes can end up in litigation. Most people are not familiar with the litigation process and therefore don’t know when they should seek out the help of a lawyer. If you are still determining whether your case may require the services of a litigation attorney, contact our law firm at (480) 702-2272 for skilled legal guidance. We will help you understand your legal options and answer any questions you may have about the process and your rights.