Are you wondering what is civil litigation? Civil litigation is a dispute between two or more parties. One side is seeking some sort of redress, usually money or specific performance. This is opposed to a criminal suit where the prosecuting attorney is seeking criminal sanctions.
In a civil suit, the attorneys specialize in civil litigation and are known as trial lawyers or litigators. These types of attorneys represent the opposing parties in hearings, trials, mediations, and arbitrations. These are typically held before federal, state or local courts and administrative agencies and foreign tribunals.
Types of Civil Litigation
To get a clear understanding of what is civil litigation, you must understand the various types of civil litigation. Trial lawyers usually specialize in one or two specific areas of civil law. We found in the Super Lawyer Directory this civil litigation attorney.
The most common areas of civil litigation are landlord/tenant, environmental, personal injury, products liability, medical malpractice, construction, intellectual property, employment and labor, anti-trust, real estate, education, and worker’s compensation. The most popular of these are medical malpractice, personal injury, and intellectual property.
The professional litigator has a diverse and challenging job. Civil litigation is almost always a contentious and adversarial process. This means trial lawyers and paralegals must be comfortable embracing controversy and conflict and assuming an oppositional position.
Trial lawyers and their professional staff, including their paralegals often work long, demanding hours preparing a case for trial. These hours may increase during the actual trial itself, and may also call for travel to investigate the issues.
There are seven stages to the civil litigation process. These are investigation, discovery, pleadings, pre-trial, the actual trial, possible settlement, and then appeal. Every case is different, so not every case will go through every stage of the civil litigation process.
Many times, civil lawsuits are settled before the trial. When they do reach trial, most trial verdicts are not appealed. A civil lawsuit’s lifespan can take anywhere from a few months to several years. A really complex civil trial can take a few years to move from pre-suit investigation all the way through trial and settlement.
The longest and most challenging phase of civil litigation is discovery. The reality is that trail lawyers actually spend very little time in trial. Most of their time is devoted to discovery and prepping for trial.
Skills of Civil Litigation
Every successful trial lawyer must possess certain knowledge and skills. The key requirements are:
- Thorough knowledge of procedural and substantive law.
- Logical and analytical reasoning abilities.
- Strong oral and written advocacy skills.
- Super interpersonal skills.
- Ability to synthesize complex factual and legal materials.
- Client development skills.
- Knowledge of legal research software and techniques.
- Negotiation skills.
The party who files the civil lawsuit is called the plaintiff. This is also the party seeking damages from the other party. The party accused by the plaintiff is called the defendant.
When trying to understand what is civil litigation, it is important to understand that civil law is a broad area. The primary factor is that it is trial law that is not criminal and in which one party is seeking damages from another.
American Bar Association