Litigation Attorney Job Description

Litigation attorneys, also referred as trial lawyers or litigators handle civil cases and represent plaintiffs and defendants in civil, as well as criminal cases.

Job Description

For an attorney, there are a number of things involved in handling a typical case.

A basic task of a trial lawyer is that he or she carries out a preliminary investigation to make sure that there is adequate evidence for filing a lawsuit. Conversely, in case of the defendant, he checks whether the evidence is enough to defend that individual.

This initial investigation can involve finding witnesses, taking their statements, interviewing the client, gathering requisite documents, and investigating the facts leading to the potential case. Apart from this, litigators also engage in pre-litigation and trial settlement discussions for resolution of matters, prior to a lawsuit being filed.

Litigators draft a number of pleadings and motions, for representing the plaintiff or defendant. Typically, the summons and complaints are drafted by the plaintiff’s attorney for commencing the lawsuit. The defendant’s attorney responds on his behalf, to the summons.

This task of a litigation attorney is referred to as discovery. Here, typically, the parties involved in the case, exchange information related to the case. Interrogatives, depositions, and a few other devices are used by civil litigators for getting vital information related to the lawsuit. This is important for the attorneys, for the purpose of obtaining related information, identifying issues, and formulating a case strategy.

Another important thing an attorney is responsible for is the pre-trial stage, for which the attorneys get done with the discovery, weeks prior to the trial. That is when the pre-trial meetings happen. If the case is settled at the pre-trial stage, then the attorney will not have to see the courtroom for the trial.

Even for the pre-trial, they consult and advise their clients. A litigation lawyer also comes up with a trial strategy based on facts and evidence. Drafting and arguing pre-trial motions is also done by them. Steps towards a possible lawsuit settlement are taken at this stage.

This is where a litigator’s law skills are tested. If the case is not settled in the pre-trial stage, the attorney has to work all the way, to present his arguments, as strongly as he can, in front of the judge. Cross-examination, examination, opening, and closing statements are a very important part of a trial.

Apart from this, on occasions, a litigator may settle a case at any juncture during the period of litigation. Finally, if the outcome of the trial is not satisfactory, according to him/her, he or she has the right to appeal in a higher court.

Salary of a Litigation Attorney

An individual’s experience and his position matter a lot when it comes to the salary. On an average, the nationwide pay for an attorney is around USD 120,000, starting from USD 61,000. This amount can fluctuate, depending on the region in which, he or she is practicing. For instance, average salary in northeast is USD 145,000, in southeast it is USD 120,000, and in the northwest, it is USD 110,000.

The resume of a litigation attorney can contain salary expectations attached with it. But another intangible thing which cannot be put there are the wishes of those who have been helped by him. All in all, much like many others, this job is challenging to the core.

Cause of Action

When an aggrieved party needs to file a civil or criminal lawsuit in the court of law, he or she needs to present a cause of action. On the basis of this, judicial action will be taken to provide relief to the aggrieved party or plaintiff. Under the English Law, this legal document is known as the Statement of Claim, and a Complaint in the U.S.

The legal definition is “The basis of a lawsuit that is founded on legal grounds and alleged facts which, if proved, would constitute all the ‘elements’ required by statute.”

What is it?
It is a technical law term used to explain facts that help give rise to a claim that can be put forth in a court. When someone’s legal rights are offended by any person or organization, the aggrieved party has a right to sue. With the help of this legal mechanism, a plaintiff needs to prove all the points covered that helps take the offending party to court.

It comes from either a statute passed by the parliament or from a common law. Judges, over time, form a common law based on similar cases bought to them in the court of law. These common laws help in development of cause of action required for different cases that need court action. The type will help determine which court will hear one’s case, i.e., civil or criminal court. Without a valid basis, no court will hear a dispute or pass a decision. The claim will be dismissed and the person filing the case may be asked to pay a fine.

What is the Need?
One needs a valid cause of action as there are many people who may suffer from a loss or injury. Everyone will seek legal action, and people will be suing anyone and everyone according to their whims and fancies. Thus, the legal system has developed conditions for different cases that need to follow this basis, for a matter to be taken up for a hearing.

Types
There are different types under which a plaintiff can plead or allege facts in his/her complaint. This helps in pleading an initiation of a lawsuit. The legal theory―the legal wrong suffered by the plaintiff, and the remedy―the relief asked by the plaintiff to the court, is covered by the course of action. A person may seek judicial relief on multiple causes of action depending on the different circumstances.

– Statutory causes of action
– Torts like assault, battery, invasion of privacy, negligence, slander, fraud, intentional infliction of emotional distress
– Contract-based action
– Equity suits like unjust enrichment and quantum meruit

The plaintiff needs to prove the points called the ‘elements’ mentioned in the same. This will help in winning the case by the plaintiff. If there is insufficient proof to support the element of claim, the court may dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim, after the opposing party moves a motion. The defendant, on the other hand, needs to ‘Answer’ the complaints filed. He can admit, deny, or provide insufficient details as a response. He may even provide counterclaim answers called the ‘Counterclaim Plaintiff’ against the plaintiff, along with a course of action. Depending on the proof given by the plaintiff, and the answers received from the defendant, the court will pass a judgment.

A Complaint is the first step to initiate a legal process. If you have any doubts, you may seek professional legal advice from an attorney. Hope the above paragraphs have helped cover most of your doubts related to statement of claim.