Civil litigation lawyers can specialize in many areas of practice, and it is very likely that, if you need legal aid, you will end up hiring one. With such a wide array of possibilities, it may be difficult to understand what a civil litigation lawyer does, and how they work.
In this article, you will find information regarding the essence of civil litigation lawyers in Calgary, and also how they are more likely to work. By having an overall view of the practice, it is possible to have a north when searching for lawyers or to begin understanding Law.
First, the what.
What is Litigation
As the title implies, a civil litigation lawyer is someone who deals with litigation.
That is, simply put, taking the conflicts between two or more people or companies to court. Such conflicts, in the civil sphere, can arise from numerous sources, such as neighborhood disagreements, contract breaches, personal injuries, real estate, and many, many more.
After being hired, a lawyer will study the client’s case and file legal action. The person moving the action is called the Plaintiff, while the one being sued is called Defendant. Both parties will have their own lawyers and take part in every stage of the lawsuit, where the lawyers will defend their interests.
The lawsuit will have an Investigation phase, followed by Pleadings and Discovery, which together form the bulk of the claim. This is where you and your lawyer will have the highest amount of work to do together, as it is all about documentation and testimonies. After those are done, the parties will have the chance to arrange a Settlement, which will describe obligations and rights that must be complied with by both sides. In case a settlement is not possible, the claim will go to Trial, where the judge or jury will decide how to solve the conflict. Finally, if one or both parties are not happy with the final result, they can always Appeal to change it.
Litigation is usually a lengthy process, but it doesn’t always need to be. In fact, most civil cases do not reach trial, instead being settled in the early stages.
Civil vs Criminal
It is important to highlight that civil practice differs from criminal at its core. While the first handles disputes between persons, criminal lawsuits will involve society and government, as those issues are of public interest. No one is going to be convicted of a crime in a civil trial, as it is not the nature of the lawsuit. What can happen, however, is that matters that start in civil court can be taken to criminal court later on.
So, if you find yourself in a position where you may need help from a lawyer, it is interesting to ask them if your case may be turned criminal—even if it’s just for your peace of mind.
Now, for the how:
Areas of Practice
Civil Law has an astonishing amount of branches reaching every aspect of our daily lives, and it is humanely impossible to be an expert in every single one of them.
It is also not feasible to try to handle a multitude of cases in all different spheres, as it could make the lawyer’s life much harder. It is better to be good in only a handful of areas than to be just regular in many of them. For that reason, most lawyers in Calgary choose to focus their professional activities on a limited number of areas of practice.
By doing so, civil litigation lawyers can better use their time, building expertise that will be used with new and current clients. Not only they will focus their studies on specific areas in an effective way, but they will also be kept updated on decisions and regulations that may be relevant to their own clients.
Among the most common areas of practice in civil litigation, there are:
Size of Firm
Taking into consideration the size of the law firm that you choose to hire is not only good practice but recommended.
Civil Litigation Lawyers can work by themselves, having an individual office and dealing with their clients free from associates; or they can seek work and partnership with other lawyers to perform their jobs collectively as a law firm. This impacts the kind of client that will be attracted to their hub, and most importantly, the kind of delivery that each case will have.
Law firms with dozens—or sometimes hundreds—of lawyers will generally have more resources to offer to their clients. They usually have more contacts out of province to aid their case, or will have more means of analyzing documentation and building strong, complex cases.
Individual lawyers who work on their own, on the other hand, have the advantage of providing a more personal, in-depth service than their company peers. This is due to the number of clients that they gather: With only one person doing all of the work, it is natural that they are going to have fewer cases at once. The result is a service dedicated almost exclusively to yourself, with much more care and personality, and this can make all of the difference in court.
Type of Client
It is not only the number of clients that matter for a lawyer when deciding how to perform their career. The type of client is also important and helps shape the kind of curriculum that the civil litigation lawyer seeks.
Some lawyers will prefer to take cases only from defendants, while others will choose plaintiffs; some will represent only individual persons in their claims, while their peers will focus on handling companies. A third group, even, will seek employment in companies as corporate lawyers and have only their workplace as a client.
By sorting out the kind of cases that they are comfortable taking, the outcome is that the lawyer will keep specializing in that area, gathering knowledge of everything that works or not for settlements or in court.
That does not mean, however, that lawyers that choose a mix of clients to represent are doing it wrong. Having this variety can aid them to see all sides of common lawsuits and studying the entire board of the game. They can be extra prepared in case of need, and won’t hesitate to switch the odds in favor of their client.
Civil litigation lawyers are very flexible and prepared professionals, taking the majority of lawsuits with them to court, and working on all levels of our life as a society. You can always count on one to help you through your legal issues, especially when you know what they do and how they work.