Anatomy of a Lawsuit

Anatomy of a Lawsuit

A civil lawsuit follows a certain pattern but can vary significantly due to decisions that each side makes. Despite what most people believe, less that 5% of lawsuits go to trial. Most are settled or dropped before trial. There is an ever growing trend for parties to mediate or arbitrate a dispute.


This page give a general outline of how a lawsuit is handled and many of the terms that someone will hear during a lawsuit. If you have an potential dispute, please call us and we can help you with the decisions you will need to make.

What you need to know

Pleadings Phase

What you need to know

Discovery Phase

Discovery is a time that both sides can ask questions or for documents and things to get everything out in the open. Both sides are required to give most everything requested and to be completely honest. Your attorney will be responsible for putting responses together. Although for most people these are new experiences and my cause anxiety, your attorney will prepare you for the parts that require your participation.

What you need to know

Trial Phase

If you are one of the few that see the inside of a court room, your attorney will prepare you for the experience and will help you feel at ease. The following are a list of terms and concepts that you will encounter as you prepare for and participate in a trial.

What you need to know

Judgment & After Judgment

The outcome of a trial or the end of a lawsuit may not necessarily be the end.

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Role of your Attorney

Who makes the decisions and how to work with a attorney

The Attorney

Your Attorney runs the lawsuit and decides all the of tactical, timing, and legal issue that must be decided as the case moves forward. Attorneys cannot decide on settlement offers, a Client does. In addition, Your Attorney is bound by rules that may not always make sense to Clients. Some of your Attorneys decisions may seem strange to you. If you have a concern or question, Ask your Attorney.

The Client

After you hire your attorney, it is your responsibility to assist and cooperate completely with your attorney. As the Client, you will make the decisions concerning settlement offers and other overarching issues. Your Attorney will consult you about legal decisions. It is important that a Client trust and be open and honest with his or her Attorney. Some Clients sometimes report that it feels like they are backseat drivers in a lawsuit. It is important that if you have questions or concerns to ask your Attorney.

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