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Basics Of The Role Of A Trial Lawyer

10.31.2009 · Posted in Home and Garden Articles

When one person or entity sues another, a trial lawyer is needed to represent each side involved in the lawsuit. The plaintiff and defense must both have individual legal representation for the litigation process. Litigation attorneys are responsible for handling several tasks that begin long before going to court, many of which you may be unaware. Their jobs for their respective clients start with investigating the details surrounding the lawsuit and end with the verdict. In many cases, their services are retained for the appeal process.nnIn this article, we’ll explore the role of trial lawyers in more detail. I’ll describe the tasks they normally handle and the tools at their disposal.nnInvestigating The CasennLitigation lawyers will first investigate the case in order to determine the strength of their client’s side. For a plaintiff, they’ll try to identify how much evidence exists which supports the suit. Often, when there’s insufficient evidence, they’ll suggest dropping the case. For a defendant, a litigator will want to know what evidence exists that can be used to build a reasonably strong defense.nnLitigation attorneys will usually interview their clients, take statements from key witnesses, and begin gathering and studying relevant documentation. Based upon the strength of their client’s side, a litigator might decide to pursue a settlement before moving forward.nnPleadings And DiscoverynnThe next step is to file motions and pleadings. For the plaintiff, a litigation attorney will file a complaint and a summons. For the defendant, the litigator will file one or more motions that request the court to dismiss the case, strike it, or change the location of where the trial will take place.nnOnce the proper motions and pleadings have been filed, both litigation lawyers will exchange any information that is thought to be relevant to the lawsuit. This stage is known as discovery: it can be done in written form (for example, through interrogatories) or in person (for example, through a deposition).nnThe TrialnnAfter the discovery process has been completed, both sides will prepare for the trial. Experts and witnesses will be retained, and respective trial strategies will be designed. Both attorneys will also work with their clients in order to uncover strengths in their own case and expose weaknesses in the other. The litigators will create their arguments, and prepare their key experts and witnesses to give testimony.nnAt the beginning of the trial, opening statements are given, and witnesses take the stand for examination and cross-examination. Both litigation attorneys will also use the information and evidence they’ve studied to build a narrative for the jurors. Finally, both lawyers will give their closing statements to the jury and wait for them to render a verdict.nnTrial lawyers are integral to the litigation process. The manner in which they represent their respective clients can mean the difference between a favorable or unfavorable outcome.

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