You’ve become involved in a legal dispute. You’ve hired a lawyer to represent you. What exactly can you expect from your lawyer? Can a lawyer be helpful to you even if a formal lawsuit hasn’t started yet?
WHAT IS A LITIGATION LAWYER?
I practice exclusively in the field of civil litigation. This means that my entire role is to assist clients with legal disputes. I do not draft wills, negotiate business deals or assist with real estate transactions. When things turn nasty, it’s time to give me or one of my colleagues a call.
While I do represent clients in court (at trials, pre-trial conferences and motion hearings), this is only part of my role. I spend most of my time meeting with clients, discussing their legal issues, reviewing the pertinent evidence, researching the relevant legal issues, writing the court documents which are required to support a lawsuit, and speaking with lawyers for the opposing parties in an effort to resolve or clarify the issues in dispute.
Here a few specific ways I can be of assistance to you which might not automatically come to mind.
Legal disputes often arise between family members and former friends and business associates. Dealing with such a person after your relationship has soured can be stressful and frustrating. Hiring a lawyer simply to handle communications with your adversary can save you aggravation and stress and enable you to focus your attention on more productive matters. A lawyer will also, of course, apply his or her knowledge and experience while interacting with your adversary on your behalf so as to ensure that your legal rights are protected. You can thus rest easy assured in the knowledge that a lawyer is on the case looking after things for you.
While my clients bring me many interesting and unusual problems, in most cases I have dealt with a similar dispute at some point in the past. As a result, I can help you to realistically evaluate your chances for success in Court. Litigation is financially and emotionally draining. While it is important to enforce your legal rights, you also want to ensure that you are aware of the weaknesses in your case from the outset, so that you do not needlessly expend your time, energy and money on a losing case.
As your lawyer, I can also encourage your adversary to settle. I can identify the weaknesses in his or her case and bring them to his or her attention. Often a letter bearing a law firm’s letterhead can be enough to cause your adversary to have second thoughts about settling.
When negotiations with your adversary, with or without the involvement of a lawyer, are not achieving results, the presence of a third party mediator or arbitrator can help to resolve the deadlock.
A mediator is someone not connected to either side in the dispute who meets with the parties and tries to assist them in reaching a settlement. A mediator may propose possible compromises or may advise one party or the other that their expectations are unreasonable and should be re-evaluated. A mediator cannot however, impose a deal which has not been agreed-upon by all parties.
An arbitrator is similar to a mediator except that an arbitrator is empowered by the parties to impose his or her decision. An arbitrator therefore is similar to a judge and, in fact, many arbitrators are former judges.
As your lawyer, I can attend mediation or arbitration with you, make submissions on your behalf to the mediator/arbitrator and help you decide whether or not to accept a proposed deal.
Many options are available to you in addressing a legal dispute. I have the knowledge and experience to help you in choosing a strategy that will best achieve your goals in the most cost-effective and time-efficient manner possible.
If you have been caught up in a legal dispute, please feel free to call me and I’d be happy to help you assess your options.