It can be difficult to know when civil litigation is an appropriate response to legal conflict. This guide will help you understand what civil litigation is and when it is a proper response to a business dispute.
What is Civil Litigation and When is a Lawyer Needed?
Disputes and disagreements are commonplace in the business world, and civil litigation is one method whereby these disputes and disagreements may be resolved. Civil litigation is appropriate in circumstances where arbitration, mediation, and other forms of informal dispute resolution are ineffective. While there is nothing that requires businesses to retain a lawyer to assist them in navigating the civil litigation process, retaining a business litigation lawyer as soon as possible can provide you and your business with immense rewards.
Dangers of Prolonged Civil Litigation
A civil case is initiated when one party involved in a dispute or disagreement files a complaint or petition against the other party and serves that party with a copy of the complaint or petition. Between the filing of this initial document and the ultimate resolution of the case following one or more appeals, months (or years, in a significant number of cases) may pass. Each month that a lawsuit remains pending, you must divert time and resources from your business's other activities. This hinders your business's operational efficiency and your ability to conduct other, more profitable business activities.
When Should a Business Lawyer Be Retained?
Although it may be months before your civil case makes it to trial, there are several reasons why it makes sense to retain an attorney to represent your business's interests as soon as possible.
Pretrial and discovery: Before your case proceeds to trial, the discovery and pretrial phases of litigation must be completed. In these phases, each party must exchange certain evidence with one another and certain dispositive motions may be decided by the court. The importance of these two phases cannot be overemphasized: it is possible for your case to be decided before it ever reaches the courtroom depending on what happens during the pretrial and discovery phases.
Familiarity with the case: It is much easier for an attorney to know what steps need to be taken to advance your interests if that attorney has been involved in the litigation for as long as possible. If your civil case has been going on for a period of time, it will take a new attorney several weeks (at least) before he or she is comfortable with your case. This may require that certain hearings or your trial to be continued to give your attorney an opportunity to become adequately familiar with your case.
This article was originally published on JGPC.com.
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