What is a Litigation Specialist?

Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

The term "litigation specialist" is used to describe two different types of legal professionals. One is a litigation attorney, a lawyer who specializes in practicing in court; in areas like England, a litigation specialist may be known as a barrister. The other is a legal support professional who is not admitted before the bar, but does provide assistance with the preparation and prosecution of cases.

Litigation can involve taking cases intended for court and working out a settlement.
Litigation can involve taking cases intended for court and working out a settlement.

Once attorneys are qualified to practice law, they usually choose to focus their practices on a specific area and type of law. Some lawyers choose to go into litigation. Litigation involves taking cases intended for court and either bringing them to court or working out a settlement with an opponent. Litigation specialists have extensive experience in court and tend to accept certain types of cases, such as personal injury cases, antitrust cases, and so forth. Working with a litigation specialist can assure a better outcome than working with a general attorney or an attorney who splits his or her time between chambers and court.

Litigation specialists have extensive experience in court and tend to accept certain kinds of cases, including personal injury and antitrust matters.
Litigation specialists have extensive experience in court and tend to accept certain kinds of cases, including personal injury and antitrust matters.

In terms of a non-lawyer, a litigation specialist is a member of the support team. These legal professionals usually have paralegal and investigation experience. They help to collect evidence, review case information, prepare documents, and write up opinions. They can also handle tasks like filing and copying that are related to the case. Attorneys rely on litigation specialists to do groundwork that will help them try a case more successfully.

Standard Oil was one of the first targets of anti-trust litigation.
Standard Oil was one of the first targets of anti-trust litigation.

Some litigation specialists work for law firms as part of the staff. Others may work for companies that often find themselves involved in litigation, such as insurance companies. Litigation specialists for individual companies are usually intimately acquainted with the company and the industry so that they can offer legal support that is highly relevant to the case. Those with backgrounds in investigation may also be involved in field work to collect information that will be used in court.

A litigation lawyer may specialize in lawsuits pertaining to personal injury.
A litigation lawyer may specialize in lawsuits pertaining to personal injury.

Litigation specialists of this nature can sometimes work out the terms of a settlement, under supervision of a lawyer, allowing their employers to settle a case out of court. This is usually a task entrusted only to people with extensive experience and familiarity with the law. Professional organizations offer certification to litigation specialists who are interested in obtaining professional qualifications. Certification can make someone more employable and may result in better wages and benefits on the job, especially if the litigation specialist also has extensive experience.

Some litigation specialists have extensive experience reaching settlements before the case goes to court.
Some litigation specialists have extensive experience reaching settlements before the case goes to court.
Litigation is the process by which a case is resolved by a trial in a court of law.
Litigation is the process by which a case is resolved by a trial in a court of law.
Some litigation specialists may focus on suits that involve workers' compensation.
Some litigation specialists may focus on suits that involve workers' compensation.
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a wiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

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Discussion Comments

SZapper

@KaBoom - It is a great idea to hire a litigation specialist, especially for a large company. My Dad was working for a company awhile ago that ended up in some legal trouble. Their litigation support team was instrumental in making sure the outcome was favorable for the company.

As you said a lot of people aren't familiar with certain types of industries. But you forgot to mention one of the most confusing fields: law. Our legal system is so complicated I think a specialist is really necessary to navigate it.

KaBoom

I really like the idea of a company having a litigation specialist on hand. A lot of industries are complicated and people who aren't in them don't know a whole lot about them. Two examples that come to mind for me are the insurance industry and the medical industry.

I'm sure it would be very helpful to those kind of companies to have someone who is familiar with litigation and the industry on staff in the event of a lawsuit.

indemnifyme

If you are going to court for any reason it is definitely a good idea to hire a lawyer who is a litigation specialist. I think a lot of us assume a lawyer is a lawyer, but most lawyers specialize in one type of law or another.

For example, my mom used to work for lawyer who specialized in personal injury cases. Most of the cases he handled rarely went to court. I'm sure he would have been adequately prepared if they had gone to court but that's not satisfactory to me. If I was going to court I would want a lawyer who specialized in civil litigation and had a lot of experience.

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