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A litigation practice is a law firm that has attorneys who take cases to court on behalf of clients. Litigation lawyers represent plaintiffs, who are the persons or company filing the suit, as well as the defendants, who are the persons or entity being sued. Most of the cases handled by litigation practices are in civil court but the kinds of cases may vary depending on the legal matter.
There are several different types of legal matters handled by a litigation practice. Attorneys may litigate cases regarding worker’s compensation disagreements or property disputes. Other attorneys may have cases involving product liability, employment laws or mass tort litigation.
When an attorney gets a case that is going into litigation, he or she will review the file documents and discuss the case with the client. The attorney also prepares discovery requests to the other party and may have to subpoena witnesses. Other tasks performed by attorneys at the litigation practice firm include indexing exhibits and trial preparation.
Before the trial, the attorney will submit a pre-trial brief and discuss settlement negotiations with the opposing party. If the parties are unable to settle and the case goes to court, the lawyer will plead his case before a judge. At the end of the hearing, the judge makes a decision and issues an order. As long as the attorney is willing to accept the verdict, the matter is finished. On occasion, the parties may not be satisfied with the judge's decision and the litigation practice attorneys will have to file an appeal.
An important part of litigation is keeping the client’s budget and expectations in mind. Some companies, especially insurance companies, have to give authority for the attorney to settle the case. If the attorney settles the case without knowing how much the insurance adjuster is willing to spend, the attorney could risk losing the case and committing malpractice.
Most litigation practices use litigation software to keep up with cases and the attorney’s trial schedule. One such type of software is a litigation document management program, which allows paralegals and attorneys to scan in all documents relating to a case. The documents are electronically entered into the case file system where they are easily retrieved. Other programs deal with time worked on the case and the amount of expenses billed.
The main goal of a litigation practice is to win the case for the client. The attorneys have to use their legal skills, logical thinking and judgment. This practice area also requires the attorney to know what cases should settle and which ones should go to trial.
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