Litigation Lawyers & Attorneys

What Is Litigation?

Litigation claims generally begin with a dispute between two or more parties. For example, litigation claims can take place between a business and another business, an individual and a business or, perhaps, a business and the territory in which it operates. Litigation typically involves the process of resolving such disputes through the court system using a litigation lawyer. However, it can be difficult to know when a dispute is something that you can manage on your own or whether you need to work with a litigation lawyer to resolve the issue through litigation. You can find an experienced litigation lawyer -- also known as a litigator -- in Priori’s curated network. Your litigation lawyer can help you navigate a litigation claim from beginning to end and can help you understand the various types of litigation that you might face when a particular dispute arises.  

If you receive notice that you are being sued, charged with a crime or are otherwise compelled to appear in court or participate in a formal legal proceeding, working with a lawyer is the clear choice. In other situations, however, such as a breach of contract or a termination of employment, you may not know your rights, let alone if you need a lawyer. Generally, it’s best to consult a lawyer sooner rather than later.  Your first consultation with a lawyer can be free and will help inform you of your rights and guide you through potential courses of action, even if that means doing nothing at all. In addition, it will apprise you of the statute of limitations for your case, which prevents a party from bringing suit after a certain period of time has passed. 

By consulting a lawyer, you increase your opportunity to achieve your optimal result, whether you know what that is or not. Without a lawyer helping develop your litigation strategy from day one, you might miss valuable opportunities or concede strategic points.

Do You Have A Claim?

The first step in bringing a lawsuit is analyzing whether you have a claim or not. The plaintiff (the one bringing the lawsuit) bears the burden of proof, meaning you must prove the allegations in your claim, as well as provide evidence for the damages sought. A lawyer can assist you in making this determination and advise you on the strengths and weaknesses of that claim.  

Do You Have to Defend Against a Claim?

If you’ve received notice that someone is filing a lawsuit against you or you have reason to believe that dispute is forthcoming, you shouldn’t sit back. Instead, you want to act proactively to defend yourself against the claims that have been or may be alleged against you. If you haven’t already, your first step should be to keep diligent records and collect any relevant documentation--emails, contracts, agreements, etc.--to create a chronology of events based on substantive evidence. Next, you should consult an experienced lawyer!

Enlisting an experienced attorney will help to ensure that you don’t make any critical mistakes that will harm your case and expose you to undue liability. First and foremost, you should avoid having a default judgment entered against you by not responding to the plaintiff’s complaint or failing to appear (in most cases you’ll have 20-30 days to respond). A default judgment will result in the plaintiff being awarded what it has alleged in its complaint. To avoid a default judgment, your lawyer can help you respond to the complaint by filing an answer or a motion, typically a motion to dismiss, or both.  

Answer. An answer gives you, the defendant, the opportunity to state your legal position regarding the case. Your answer must respond to every allegation in the plaintiff’s complaint by either: 1) admitting; 2) denying; or 3) stating that you don’t have sufficient knowledge to know whether the allegation is true or false.  If you don’t respond to an allegation in the complaint it is treated as an admission. Your answer is also the opportunity to assert your affirmative defenses and allege any counterclaims. It’s important that your complaint include a comprehensive list of affirmative defense or counterclaims because omitting one may result in it being waived, which means you won’t be able to raise it at a later time.

Motion to Dismiss.  This type of motion asks the court to throw out the case for some reason.  The common form motions to dismiss are failure to state a legal claim, improper service and suit barred by statute of limitations. Even if you succeed in a motion to dismiss, unless it is made with prejudice, the plaintiff will have the opportunity to correct its mistake and refile.  

With numerous places to make a misstep that can have dramatic consequences on your defense, its important to contact a lawyer as soon as you receive notice that a lawsuit has been filed against you or your business.  This will give you and your lawyer ample time to prepare your defenses and respond accordingly to the complaint.

Employment 

Both employers and employees have rights and responsibilities, which if violated will give the other the ability to bring a lawsuit. Disputes often arise when an employee is terminated, reveals confidential information, makes a harassment or discrimination claim or claims denial of compensation or benefits.

Real Estate

Whether it’s residential or commercial, landlords and tenants are often finding themselves at odds with one another. Real estate litigation, however, extends beyond eviction proceedings or violations of habitability. Disputes can arise from purchase/sale contracts, financing, construction projects, management or operating agreements, eminent domain and much more.  When your home or business’s brick and mortar is at stake, it’s important to speak with a lawyer about your best course of action.

Commercial

Disputes between businesses can arise in various forms ranging from allegations of unfair competition to contract disputes to collection matters.  Whether you are trying to stop a wrongful business practice, have a contract honored or receive payment on a debt, a commercial litigator can aid you in the process of resolving these disputes in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.  

Products & Premises Liability

If someone claims to have been injured by your product or to have been injured on your premises, you will need to hire a lawyer. These are two types of civil lawsuits, along with other personal injury claims, that make up what is known as tort law, where one party seeks to hold another liable for some wrongful conduct.  To succeed in a tort action, it isn’t enough to show injury but also duty, breach and damage.

Founder’s Disputes

Hopefully, you have a lawyer-drafted Founder’s Agreement (aka partnership agreement, operating agreement, or corporate bylaws) in place so expectations, obligations and rights are clearly defined. But, either way, disputes over initial capital contribution, ownership, decision-making, distribution of profits and salary and withdrawal, to name a few, can turn best friends and family into legal combatants. Read more about Co-Founder disputes »

Intellectual Property

If you think someone is infringing on your trademark, copyright, patent or trade secret rights and registrations, you may want to bring a claim to protect your intellectual property. Working with an attorney early on to make sure you have strong protections in place is the most cost-effective intellectual property strategy you can pursue--whether that’s writing a cease and desist letter or bringing an infringement suit.

Even when you may clearly identify as having one of the legal claims above, or any other legal claim, proceeding to litigation in a courtroom may not be your best course of action.  Reports indicate that as many as 95% of claims end in pre-court settlements because litigation consumes significant time, money and energy. In addition, the result is never certain.  Finding an out-of-court solution, such as a settlement agreement, is often a more favorable option.  A skilled attorney will not only be able to advise you on your best strategy, but will also be a trained negotiator, who can advocate on your behalf at the bargaining table.   

How to Choose the Right Litigator?

Not all litigators are the same.  Finding the right one to handle your matter is critical in saving you time and money, as well as achieving a favorable result. A Priori lawyer can guide you through the process from start to finish. First, identifying the case’s strengths and weaknesses, including providing guidance on whether the litigation should move forward or whether settlement is advisable. In addition, Priori lawyers have years of experience in conducting fact investigations and managing cases, and, if it comes to it, trial experience.

Legal fees for litigators vary based on the specifics of the case, generally ranging from $150 to $600 an hour. Priori clients enjoy a net-15% discount on standard hourly rates.

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