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Would it be possible to file and proceed in carrying out a lawsuit, with an attorney who is a litigator

Melville, NY |

Would it be possible to file and proceed in carrying out a lawsuit with an attorney who is a litigator and an excellent criminal defense attorney, but not specialized in civil suits? The lawyer i wanted to use, i had originally used in my criminal case and am very happy with, and he wants to do the lawsuit but he is not 100% clear on filing the civil papers. Are there options for this type of situaton? Are there ways to work around this. Could he possibly hire an outside person to do the filing, and he himself could carry out the majority of the lawsuit. I appreciate the feedback. Thanks.

Attorney Answers 6

  1. A lawyer in every state is licensed to practice law and any type of law. Meaning the license gives you the right as an attorney to precede in any area of law (litigation, criminal cases etc), but you must be competent in that area.

    A criminal lawyer may be perfectly capable and is able to file a civil suit. The question would be is it wise to hire a criminal lawyer for a civil matter and the answer is unknown. If you like the attorney and the attorney and you got along and you want to hire the attorney for a civil case there is nothing stopping you technically from doing it. It is just a question of whether or not a criminal attorney is good in other areas that they normally don' t practice in. There is no clear answer here. A license in the state for a lawyer covers any area except patent law (which a separate requirement is necessary for that).

    The response given is not intended to create, nor does it create an ongoing duty to respond to questions. The response does not form an attorney-client relationship, nor is it intended to be anything other than the educated opinion of the author. It should not be relied upon as legal advice. The response given is based upon the limited facts provided by the person asking the question. To the extent additional or different facts exist, the response might possibly change. Attorney is licensed to practice law only in the State of Illinois. Responses are answers to general legal questions and the receiver of such question should consult a local attorney for specific answers to questions.

  2. Yes. It wouldn't be a good idea, but it would be possible.

    Under the rules governing the conduct of attorneys in New York it may be necessary to remind you that this answer could be considered attorney advertising.

  3. It can be done but it not necissarily a wise idea. I do both criminal and civil so I can tell you that the proceedural rules are different - there isa lot more paper in a civil case. You need to take and defend depoisitions and make motions, etc. Your lawyer can bring in another lawyer to assist but your lawyer will have to pay for that out of his legal fee. The lawywe should also read the ethics rules about handling a case in an area he/she is not familiar with.

    I am a former federal and State prosecutor and now handle criminal defense and personal injury/civil rights cases. Feel free to check out my web site and contact me at (212) 385-8015 or via email at The above answer is for informational purposes only and not meant as legal advice.

  4. I like my ear nose and throat doctor a lot--but I wouldn't want him handling my prostate surgery---recommend you stick with a civil litigator.

    READ THIS BEFORE CALLING OR EMAILING ME: I am licensed to practice before the state and federal courts in Virginia. We have not established an attorney-client relationship unless we have a signed representation agreement and you have paid me. I give a 100% effort to get you on the right track with your issue. Sometimes that means legal educational information, sometimes that means counseling and non-legal guidance. You should speak with an attorney to whom you have provided all the facts, before you take steps that may impact your legal rights. I am not obligated to answer subsequent emails or phone calls unless you have hired me. I wish you the best of luck with your situation.

  5. If the lawyer is a general practitioner he may have the ability to wear different hats easily. If he specializes you may want to find a specialist. I have personally stepped out side of "my comfort zone" and whipped a specialist as I approached it methodically and as i was trained. I am the kind of guy that if i have to learn it by a certain date I will do so. However, I specialize in complex litigation and it is easy to handle a few facts and non-technical data, when faced with daunting complexities on a daily basis. I certainly would not hire a attorney who specializes "in drunk driving claims" to handle CERCLA claims or certain environmental claims. Not that they could not learn the intricate details, I just wouldn't want to be their guinea pig and they may be setting them selves up for a malpractice claim. Don't discount a sharp generalist, but watch out for a fish out of water.

    Legal disclaimer: I am not your attorney and we have no attorney/client relationship. This response is submitted for informational purposes only. This is not legal advice, nor is it intended to be taken as such. Anyone considering the above referenced response and should always consult directly with an attorney within your jurisdiction before taking any action based on this, or any other information. This information is provided without any cost and therefore is worth what you paid for it. Again this information does not create any privileged attorney/client relationship and you are cautioned about information you convey to any person in a public forum considering your case, especially if it is criminal in nature. If you would like to consult with me you may contact me at (216)316-3161. I am admitted to practice in the State of Ohio and the State of Michigan.

  6. You guessed the answer: get me to consult. I have 27 years of commercial litigation experience and would guide him through the nitty gritty, but more important the strategic aspects of the case.
    David H. Relkin, Esq.,


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