Civil Litigation: What is it?

What is civil litigation?
Civil litigation is the term used for a legal dispute that has occurred involving two or more parties seeking money damages or a specific performance, in comparison to criminal sanctions.
Litigators are what are known as the lawyers that specialise in civil litigation, and lawyers who practice civil litigation will represent the parties in hearings, trials, arbitrations and mediations before foreign tribunals, administrative agencies, federal, state and local courts.

The types of civil litigation

An extensive amount of conflicts can be encompassed into civil litigation.
Litigators will usually specialise in a couple of the specific areas.

Several of the common types of litigation include:

– Anti-Trust
– Construction
– Education Law
– Employment & Labor
– Environmental Law
– Intellectual Property
– Landlord/Tenant
– Medical Malpractice
– Personal Injury
– Products Liability
– Real Estate
– Worker’s Compensation

Civil litigation skills

To be able to proceed with litigation practice, there are a certain set of specific legal skills a person must acquire, including:

– Ability to synthesise complex legal and factual materials
– Analytical reasoning abilities as well as logical
– Client development skills
– Knowledge of legal research techniques and software
– Knowledge of substantive and procedural law
– Negotiation skills
– Strong advocacy skills, both written and oral
– Superior social skills

The role played

Being a litigator is a challenging role, as one must be prepared to assume an oppositional position and embody conflict and controversy.

The process

There are seven stages of the litigation process: investigation, pleadings, discovery, pre-trial, trial, settlement and appeal.
However, not every lawsuit will pass through each of the stages of the litigation; in many cases, lawsuits have been settled prior to the upcoming trial and those that do reach the verdict of the trial are not appealed afterwards.

Complex civil litigation will take years to pass from pre-suit investigation through trial/settlement.
The stage of discovery is the longest stage of civil litigation, not a lot of time is spent in trial, most is actually devoted to the discovery stage in the litigation process.

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