A litigation manager oversees and manages a lawyer or legal team responsible for bringing or defending a lawsuit. Lawsuits exist for many different behaviors throughout the world; a person could be sued for causing any type of injury, for violating a contract, or for doing any number of other behaviors that give rise to civil litigation. A litigation manager would work with either the plaintiff or defendant in such a lawsuit, helping to oversee the legal efforts to either prove or defend the allegations in the suit.
Litigation managers work on civil litigation only. Criminal lawyers, while they may have a legal team, generally do not refer to the leader of the criminal defense team as a litigation manager. When a civil suit exists, however, multiple lawyers — or even multiple law firms — may be called upon to represent the parties involved. The litigation manager will coordinate the efforts.
A litigation manager may work for a corporation as part of the in-house counsel team. If that corporation is sued or needs to sue someone, the manager will arrange to hire an outside law firm to handle the litigation. He will then oversee the manner in which the case is handled and act as a liaison between the corporation and the law firm.
The litigation manager in a corporation may also help a company avoid litigation before it begins. In such cases, the manager will be consulted on decisions that could potentially give rise to a lawsuit. He can help the company evaluate the risk that the decision entails and determine the chances of being sued and the potential cost in the event a suit occurs. He can also provide guidance, counseling and advice on other decisions a company could make or ways in which the company could prevent or minimize the chances of litigation.
Such managers may also work for law firms. When litigation managers have positions in law firms, this often means overseeing a team of litigators assigned to one or more different cases. This could include deciding which attorneys will handle which cases and/or how the work duties will be divided on a case or how the case should proceed.
Litigation managers are generally attorneys with experience in trial law and litigation. While they may practice law and continue to litigate cases, their management duty and role is often the most important aspect of their job description. They help ensure all goes well and that all parties communicate on decisions to minimize the chances of being sued and/or maximize the chances of success for either the plaintiff or defendant when a lawsuit does arise.