What is litigation?

Sometimes you just can’t get people to do the right thing. When that happens, litigation may be the only realistic course of action.

Ever looked up the word “Litigation” in the dictionary? Probably not. Webster’s II New College Dictionary simply defines the word as “To . . . engage in legal proceedings.” And “Legal Proceedings” usually means a lawsuit.

Many disputes get resolved without ever going to court. Informal workouts can be fast, easy, and relatively inexpensive. But sometimes people have different viewpoints about what happened – or what ought to happen – in any given situation. And sometimes people don’t want to do the right thing – because it’s expensive, inconvenient, or for other reasons. When that happens, litigation may be the only way to get a matter resolved.

Litigation gives a judge (or a jury) the power to make a decision instead of the parties involved in a dispute. That can be a good thing. If one party refuses to see reason, or refuses to take action, then a judge (or a jury) can do so on their behalf. However, litigation can be expensive, so it’s not for the faint of heart. Litigation can be rigorous, demanding, and frustrating. It’s often not the first choice, but sometimes it’s the only choice. So when litigation become necessary, then it’s important to press forward with vigor, skill, and with great strategy. Litigation outcomes are never guaranteed, but with proper skill, advocacy and advance planning, the likelihood of success can be greatly enhanced.

Things to consider when selecting a lawyer

It’s easy to think that one lawyer is as good, or as effective, as another. In some routine matters, that may be true. But in many matters, the skill, the aptitude and the approach of the lawyer can make a tremendous difference, both on the effectiveness of the process as well as the success of the outcome. A litigation lawyer wears many hats, and fills many roles. In a very real sense a lawyer is like a “river guide” who must anticipate twists, turns, and unseen obstacles in the course ahead. A lawyer involved in a lawsuit will act as counselor, strategist, planner, warrior, negotiator, and advocate. A person’s ability to effectively fill such roles depends on many more factors than whether or not they graduated from a good law school or whether they passed the bar on the first attempt. A lawyer’s personality, and their attitude towards fighting with words, on paper, and in the courtroom can make a significant difference. And a lawyer’s experience level can make a tremendous difference in these kinds of things.

The lawyer’s job is to quickly and effectively see the legal issues in any given situation, and then to organize all of the available resources into a persuasive argument that supports the client’s position. Not every lawyer is cut out for that kind of work, and not every lawyer is equally effective at it. That’s why it’s so important to select a lawyer with skill, determination, tenacity and excellent communication skills.