What is litigation?

Litigation is the general term for all the activity involved in suing or being sued in court.

There are many common types of lawsuits that litigators handle:

  • contract disputes
  • employment disputes
  • disputes over sales or leases of real estate
  • personal injury claims
  • disputes over ownership or possession of property

What do I need to know about litigation?

Litigation is a long and complex process, and learning to do it takes years of study and experience. There are many pitfalls along the way, and there’s no brief advice I can give you that is really going to help you much if you are dealing with the court system on your own. Unless you are sueing or being sued in the Justice of the Peace court (also known as J.P., or small claims court), you will almost certainly need a lawyer.

What is the biggest pitfall in litigation?

Not filing an Answer promptly when you are sued. In as little as 21 days, you can have a “default judgment” issued against you in favor of the person who sued you. That means they win by default because you never responded. Default judgments are real, enforceable judgments and can have devastating effect because they get whatever they asked for, even if it was a larger amount of
money than they would have received at trial.

What is “discovery?” What is a “subpoena?” Etc.

Here is a good online legal dictionary:

And here is a list of terms that you may encounter as you deal with a lawsuit and may wish to learn:

  • court clerk
  • discovery
  • deposition
  • interrogatories
  • subpoena
  • motion to dismiss
  • motion to compel
  • motion for sanctions
  • motion for summary judgement
  • hearsay

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