Personal litigation is legal representation on behalf of individuals in areas of personal law, which involves legal issues that many people will at sometime have occasion to deal with. It is not restricted to court cases but also involves “transactional” work, the drafting and negotiation of agreements in these types of cases. Often, this type of practice is a small division of a larger firm.
Personal law encompasses representation in cases involving employment, real estate, family law, and estate planning. Lawyers practicing in this area also handle matters like income tax, and small business planning. The lawyer’s representation is not restricted to one side of a legal issue, in the sense that she represents her client in whatever legal role the client has, whether plaintiff or defendant.
Real estate law can include disputes between neighbors about the boundaries between their respective properties or interference with a right of way. Sometimes litigation may involve interpretation of real estate sales contracts or enforcement of the terms of residential and commercial leases. A personal litigation lawyer may also be involved in negotiating and drafting contracts involving the sale or lease of property. She may also counsel a prospective buyer as to whether the terms of a property sale contract are fair and legal before it is signed.
The dissolution of a marriage can involve issues of property division, child custody, support and visitation. Some of these issues can be resolved through mediation. Some or all of them might have to be litigated in court. A personal litigation lawyer also handles family matters like adoptions, paternity actions and grandparents’ visitation rights. She might also obtain orders of protection for her clients in cases of domestic violence.
Contractual agreements are also an important part of employment law. They can involve benefits packages, family leave, moving expenses, and severance pay. A personal litigation lawyer may be involved in the negotiation and drafting of all the provisions of an employment contract. She may also represent clients in employment discrimination and wrongful termination hearings in court or before administrative bodies. In some instances, she might act as an independent arbitrator or mediator in employment disputes.
When a family business is involved, estate planning may also include planning for family members to assume the business. A personal litigation attorney may assist in these matters and in estate tax planning as well. She may also serve as an independent administrator of an estate, in order to carry out the intent of the person who made the will. She may also represent a person who wishes to challenge the validity of a will in court.