Welcome to Law Lingo: a monthly blog series brought to you by Brown & Crona, LLC that explains estate planning terminologies in simple terms. This month we will explain a litigator.
A litigator handles the entire process of suing or defending a person, group or company in civil disputes. The litigation process may or may not end up in a courtroom. If it does, a litigator will be able to present their case in front of a judge and/or jury.
Litigators have many responsibilities outside the courtroom to help their clients. In order to take successful legal action, the litigator must:
- Gather as many details as possible about the case by reviewing records, talking to witnesses, interviewing all parties involved, etc. It may be necessary to get outside assistance to collect supporting evidence – such as hiring a private investigator, expert, accountant or other specialists. This is referred to as the investigation phase.
- File pleadings with the courts, either filing initial documents with the court or filing a response to the initial documents =.
- Exchange important information regarding the case with the opposing counsel. Referred to as the discovery phase, the litigators may conduct depositions and continue the investigation phase.
- Arrange all pre-trial steps such as conferring with the opposing counsel and attending other legal conferences, hearings, mediation, etc.
- Negotiate a settlement, if appropriate, to avoid going to trial.
- Take the case to trial and serve as the trial attorney. This process will involve jury selection, making the opening statement, questioning witnesses, providing evidence to support your case and making the closing statement.
- File an appeal if the trial outcome is not satisfactory for the client.
There can be many different reasons why you might need to hire a litigator. Some examples include:
- Challenging the validity of a will or trust (estate litigation)
- Getting injured due to another person or company’s negligence
- Being a victim of discrimination or sexual harassment in the workplace
- Experiencing a breach of contract for work that was not performed according to the agreement
- Real estate horrors such as learning a major home problem was not revealed during the closing process
- Medical negligence that resulted in death
Litigators will be with you from the beginning of the process to the very end, so it’s important to choose an experienced, trustworthy attorney to handle your case. Expect to work with this person for weeks, months or even years as your case is developed and brought to fruition.
Still confused by litigator or any other legal terms? The Denver litigation lawyers at Brown & Crona, LLC are here to help. Contact us at (303) 339-3750 or send us a message online to meet with our experts.