Understanding whether or not your legal dispute requires going to court does not have to be intimidating. When faced with a legal issue, a company or individual must first understand what options are available to them, and then which action is appropriate to be taken in their case. To make that process easier, we highlighted the three primary considerations below.
1. Deciding if your dispute requires going to court to resolve
If you can solve a problem on your own or with your attorney (for example, planning your estate or selling a property), then you are faced with a transactional matter that typically will not require a court’s involvement. However, if you are unable to reach resolution without involving the court, your matter falls under the category of litigation.
Several types of litigation could include: commercial or civil litigation, patent litigation, securities litigation, and complex multiparty litigation.
- Commercial litigation is typically a dispute over a specific business transaction or series of transactions.
- Civil litigation could involve a variety of disputes over money, property, or seeking the performance of an act.
- Patent litigation is a dispute that comes from the infringement of a patent.
- Securities litigation involves a dispute over the exchange, purchase or sale of securities, which can often include a criminal counterpart.
- Complex litigation includes complicated legal matters (such as scientific or , often involving multiple parties extensive documentation, and several parties involved.
Situations in which someone might find it appropriate to pursue litigation include the breach of a contract, employment matters, business disputes, real estate deals, or personal injuries, particularly where the involved parties cannot reach a solution on their own. The next step is to hire the right litigation attorney for your needs.
2. Hiring a litigation attorney
Litigation attorneys manage all phases of the litigation from the investigation, pleadings, and discovery through pre-trial, trial, settlement, and appeal processes.
When hiring a litigation lawyer, one of the first questions you should ask is how they handle payments. The two most common ways a lawyer may require payment are on an hourly-basis or on contingency. If the litigation lawyer works on contingency, the lawyer will not charge for services, however, will collect their fee from your judgment, assuming you win your case.
Another consideration to make when hiring a litigation attorney is to make sure they will keep you informed and involved in the case. Litigation cases are often stressful and complex; therefore, it is important to make sure you be updated consistently about your case. Be sure to ask your attorney what their preferred method of communication is and understand who your point of contact is because the person you speak with may not always be the attorney who works on your case. A paralegal or junior attorney may keep you updated. Knowing who you will be speaking with and feeling comfortable asking questions is extremely important in understanding the process of your court case.
No matter what, your litigation attorney should be well organized, respond to you in a timely manner, provide you with references, be familiar with litigation technology and answer your questions in a way that you understand. Once you find a suitable attorney for your matter, you’ll feel less intimidated moving forward in your case.
3. Understanding the stages of a litigation trial
The pre-trial stage of the litigation process consists of investigating the case (this is called “discovery”), exchanging of information between the parties, and meetings and negotiations between both attorneys for each side of the case. Often, settlements may actually be reached during the pre-trial period.
Once the trial begins, each side argues their case before the judge or a jury. Prior to the trial, both the plaintiff and defendant usually provide briefs to a judge, laying out the arguments they will make and the evidence that will be utilized. A very small percentage of cases (approximately 2% in Cook County) ever make it all the way to trial.
The judgment is the final outcome of a case after trial. This often involves a sum of money or a required act to be paid to the winning party by the losing party. collecting the judgment may arise, however, and the winning party can pursue the losing party further to recover what is owed to them.
Each party involved in the litigation trial has the right to appeal if they are displeased with the result of the trial. Once an appeal is filed, the decision will go to a higher court that will analyze the arguments and evidence to asses if any legal errors that may change the outcome.
If you or someone you know may be in a legal dispute, contact Kershner Sledziewski Law today.
These materials have been prepared by Kershner Sledziewski Law, LLC for informational purposes only and are not legal advice. This information is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Internet subscribers and online readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel, as the advice appropriate for your particular circumstances may vary.