Litigation refers to proceedings between two parties before, during, and after a lawsuit to enforce or defend a legal right. A litigator defends the legal action and has to study civil procedure, Constitutional law, Property, and Torts, Criminal Law and Contracts to attain a Juris Doctor from an accredited law school and pass the bar exam. They should be licensed before practicing in any state by taking an exam every time they change states.
Process of Litigation
Investigation – Attorneys and the parties involved gather information on facts and potential outcomes of the case. The information obtained must satisfy there was wrong and that the law provides a remedy for the wronged party to present the case.
Pre-suit Negotiations – Negotiations are conducted between the parties to try to have common grounds regarding the case to avoid the inconveniences that come along with a formal lawsuit. The wronged party writes to the other side with evidence and the value of the harm caused.
Dispute Resolution – A mediator attempts to negotiate a settlement between both sides by putting forth a reasonable amount. If both parties accept then the case is resolved, and if one or both reject, the case is still on.
The Lawsuit – When there is no agreement, a plaintiff files a formal complaint with the court and gives the defendant a notice. When the defendant files an answer, the lawsuit begins.
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Discovery – Attorneys of the two parties, exchange facts and evidence of the case and ask questions under oath where a court reporter takes note for future use. Attorneys engage in motion practice asking the court to rule in their favor by presenting the presiding judge with arguments of their case.
Trial – Both sides take the time to submit their case to the jury starting with the plaintiff. They also have a right to respond to any allegations made and then rest their case when satisfied with the presentation.
Post-Trial Litigation – The losing party can opt to appeal the case if not satisfied with the results. There are motions and hearings even when the jury has made its verdict.
Karl Heideck is an attorney in litigation, compliance, and risk management review who practices in Philadelphia. He has a bachelor degree in Arts from Swarthmore College. Like any litigator, Karl Heideck received his J.D from Temple University. He currently works for Pepper Hamilton LLP.
Commercial litigation is Karl Heideck’s main interest apart from banking and subprime litigation, and most of his clients have won their cases. He assisted ADA’s in the pre-trials in hearings due to his experiences.
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