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Also called trial lawyers or litigators, litigation attorneys represent defendants and plaintiffs during a civil lawsuit. Not only do they handle the trial itself but they are hands-on with every stage beginning from the investigations to the discoveries and pleadings all throughout the pre-trial, the trial itself, any settlements, and possible appeals. The tasks that litigation attorneys handle are heavily based on the very nature of the dispute, they’re experiencing and whether they are representing the defendant of the plaintiff.
Training and Education
Litigation lawyers are required to attend an accredited law school and earn their Juris Doctor degree; the law school has to be accredited by their nation’s bar association. The requirement entails finishing a four-year degree first before they are qualified for the additional three years in law school. Afterward, attorneys need to pass the bar examination and actually be registered to the bar in the specific state where they want to practice their profession.
Initial Investigation and Case Assessment
In handling a plaintiff’s case, the litigation attorney typically conducts an initial investigation in order to assess if there is enough evidence to qualify for filing a lawsuit. On the other hand, if they are representing the defendant, they need to determine what kind of evidence is present in order to defend any existing or potential lawsuits against the client.
The investigation process may include searching and jotting down witness statements, locating all the witnesses, thoroughly interviewing their client, gathering all the relevant documents, and investigating all the known facts that lead up to the dispute.
Various motions and pleadings can be filed in the court for the defendant as well as the plaintiff during a lawsuit. Lawyers representing the plaintiff will draft and subsequently file complaints and summons as a way to initiate the lawsuit. Meanwhile, defense attorneys will draft their answers or, at times, counterclaims as a response to the initial complaint. Defense attorneys work hand in hand with their clients in investigating the overall allegations stated in the lawsuit before formulating any responses.
Another option for litigation attorneys in drafting numerous pretrial motions that may include motions to dismiss evidence, strike, or to move to a different venue for the trial. Motions for judgments can also be filed as long as they are rendered based on the pleadings; court appearances are not required here.
The Discovery Process
In the discovery stage of a lawsuit, there will be a lot of exchange in information between the parties; they need to find the most relevant information. Litigation lawyers make use of strategies and tactics in gaining the much needed information.
Methods may include interrogatories that involve quite a series of questions on paper that will be answered by the opposite party; the answers have to be in writing and under penalty of perjury. It may also include dispositions where oral questions are presented by the attorney of the opposite party under an office setup and of course, under oath.