"Litigation" refers to the sometimes complicated procedure by which a lawsuit is filed, proceeds through the courts, and is ultimately decided.  It includes, but is not limited to the pleading phase (in which the lawsuit is filed and responded to), the pre-trial discovery phase (in which evidence and information is obtained), the pre-trial law and motion phase (in which the parties ask the Court for some form of relief and/or oppose such requests), trial (in which the parties present their case to the trier of fact and seek to introduce and/or exclude evidence), judgment (the formal statement of the ruling), post-trial law and motion practice (in which the parties may ask the Court to reconsider a decision or order a new trial, reduce awards, award costs and attorney's fees, and the like), the appellate practice phase (in which the parties ask a higher court to review the case and affirm/uphold or reverse/overturn a decision of the lower court and/or jury), and the enforcement of judgments phase (in which a party seeks to collect money damages and/or enforce a final order of the court).  There is, of course, some overlap between and among these general categories.

Litigation is a rule-bound, time-sensitive, technically involved, sometimes daunting, and always expensive process that few laypeople would willingly choose if they believed that there was any reasonable alternative.  Not all lawyers are litigators.  We tend to gravitate to practice areas that fit our unique personalities and skill sets.  Because litigation is procedurally complicated and often contentious, many lawyers choose to spend their time practicing in less stressful arenas, such as drafting of wills, trusts, contracts, and the like, employment or corporate law, etc.  Others thrive in an adversarial environment and specialize in the ultimate litigation experience, which is taking cases to trial, either on behalf of a Plaintiff or a Defendant.  Very few cases and a statistically small percentage of lawyers ever actually make it to trial, however, due to the crushing cost of litigation and trial.  The field of lawyers that do regularly try cases is small, however, and tends to be dominated by a few aging giants and young guns.

I have been a litigator for all of my thirteen-year legal career, and a trial attorney for the past several years.  I am neither an aging giant nor a young gun.  I am a respected and skilled litigator and trial attorney with above-average writing and verbal skills, who hates to lose.  I work hard for my clients and try to always remember that what may be a typical day at the office or in court for me can be the worst day of their lives.

I have often thought that one reason that many people do not like lawyers in general (and litigators/trial attorneys in particular) is that we are like undertakers; our clients rarely meet us under good circumstances.  They are usually seeking to vindicate rights that they feel have been unjustly denied them, or defend against legal challenges or criminal prosecutions that they feel have been unjustly pursued against them.  Either way, many consciously or subconsciously resent having to hire a lawyer to represent them in what is usually an emotionally difficult, confusing, and expensive process.

My goal is to take the procedural and technical burdens of dealing with a civil lawsuit, criminal prosecution, or family law matter off of my clients' plates, so they can return to their personal lives and businesses and let me manage the legal end of things.  I tell my clients that when I need their attention - either to help with responses to written discovery requests, prepare for and sit in a deposition, or prepare for and attend a hearing or trial - I will come to them and ask them for it.  I tell them that to the extent that they can do so, they should focus on their family, friends, and businesses because that is what they do best, and leave the legal details to me because that is what I do best.  In short, I try my very best to be their Paladin.

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    A Clean, Well-Lighted Place.

    This blog is intended to be a clean, well-lighted place to share my thoughts about the practice of law, litigation, and trials.


    November 2012