Many people confuse the roles of a litigation attorney and a trial attorney. Some of that confusion may come from the terms themselves. "Litigation" is one thing; a "trial" represents a different thing. Also, litigation attorneys can go to trial for you. Equally, some trial attorneys are excellent litigators. Here's the differences that will help you make an informed decision.
Litigations and Trials
When someone disputes a legal matter of any sort, that matter goes into litigation. Litigation represents the processes involved with taking legal action.
For example, if you file a claim, and an insurance company pays you, then the process ends without you ever having to do anything extra. If you file a claim, and the insurance company declines it for some reason or other, then the issue goes into litigation.
An attorney will have to assess the case, investigate, and go through the discovery process. All of this will go towards proving your claim valid, and reaching a settlement. If the attorney cannot reach a settlement or agreement, then the issue goes to trial.
Your trial is your day, or days, in court. It's where you take all your testimony and evidence before a judge or jury to let them decide the fate of the case. Technically, the trial represents the end of the litigation process.
Your litigation attorney may handle everything up to, and including, that part. It's possible your litigation attorney will pass the trial portion on to a more experienced trial attorney. A trial works differently from every other part of the litigation process. It requires particular skills one attorney may have that another lacks.
Just like not all trial attorneys make for good litigators, not all litigators can perform well at a trial. A trial attorney must prepare the defense, go into the courtroom, cross-examine witnesses, and present articulate and well-crafted arguments on your behalf.
Do You Need More than One Attorney?
If you're not careful at the start of your case, you may find you need to hire two or even more attorneys if the case doesn't go smoothly. The obvious downside to this is the expenditure. There's also a few more problems this scenario can present.
For example, if one attorney does all the legwork, he or she will have intimate knowledge of the case and the major players. If you must suddenly bring in a new attorney, the person will not know as much as the previous one.
If the new attorney only does general trial work, rather than handling trials of a specific area of law, you're doing yourself a disservice. When you're searching for a litigation attorney, make sure you ask if they or their firm will handle the entirety of the case, and not just the pre-trial litigation.
To learn more, contact a litigation attorney at a law firm such as the Law Office of Shirley Whitsitt.