What is litigation law and how does it affect you?

What is litigation law? To put it simply, it’s the area of law that involves the courtroom. This isn’t the most accurate description, since many lawsuits never end up in court. However, it effectively conveys the idea that litigation is adversarial in nature, pitting one side against another.

What Is Litigation Law?

Litigation law is essentially a practice of law in which you have one side fighting another side. It can include a husband and wife in a divorce proceeding, two individuals facing off over a land dispute, two companies arguing over a breach of contract or the government prosecuting an individual for a criminal offense.

Keep in mind that most of the time, when someone says they work in “litigation,” they’re probably not referring to the practice of criminal law, but rather, civil law. However, some people still consider criminal law a type of litigation. In fact, many civil litigation attorneys get their start in criminal law, obtaining courtroom skills and experience by prosecuting or defending criminal defendants.

Litigation law does not include legal work that is primarily transactional or advisory in nature. In litigation law, it’s you against someone else, whether it’s another individual, company or government. In non-litigation law, you’re not fighting someone else. Instead, you’re trying to figure out how to achieve an objective while complying with the law, or you are trying to obtain protections from the law.

For example, in a real estate deal, you’re not trying to defeat the party on the other side of the deal. Instead, you’re trying to reach a goal that you both want – the sale of property from one party to another. It’s true that it’s “adversarial” in some ways because you’re trying to get the best deal possible at the expense of the other side, but you’re still both trying to achieve the same goal.

What Kind of Cases do Litigation Attorneys Take On?

Litigation attorneys can represent clients in a wide variety of cases. Common cases handled by litigation attorneys often involve the following areas:

  • Family law, such as a contested divorce
  • Commercial law, such as breach of contract
  • Employment law, such as harassment, discrimination and retaliation
  • Libel/defamation
  • Personal injury law
  • Professional malpractice law
  • Civil rights issues
  • Intellectual property prosecution
  • Insurance disputes

These civil litigation cases often involve the same process of filing a complaint to start a lawsuit, engaging in discovery to exchange evidence and information before trial, then having the trial itself. Even though courtroom proceedings are usually a significant part of litigation law, many civil litigation cases don’t actually end up in court. They usually settle before trial. However, just because a case doesn’t go to trial, it doesn’t mean litigation hasn’t taken place. Litigation also includes everything that goes on before trial, including filing pleadings, arguing motions and responding to discovery requests.

Have a Possible Litigation Matter?

What is litigation law? If you want to speak to an attorney about litigation law and what it might mean for you, contact the Wilbanks Law Firm, P.C. online.


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