What Does a Civil Litigation Lawyer Do?

Civil litigation lawyers


Civil litigation lawyers play a crucial role in the legal system, representing clients in non-criminal disputes and helping them resolve conflicts through the court system or other means of alternative dispute resolution. This article explores the essential duties and responsibilities of civil litigation lawyers, shedding light on their pivotal role in seeking justice and protecting their clients’ rights in various legal matters.

Defining Civil Litigation

Civil litigation involves legal disputes between individuals, businesses, or organizations seeking monetary damages or specific actions rather than criminal prosecution. These disputes can encompass a wide range of issues, including contract breaches, property disputes, personal injury claims, employment conflicts, and much more. Civil litigation lawyers are specialized attorneys who guide their clients through the entire legal process, from investigation and case development to settlement negotiations or trial representation.

Case Evaluation and Strategy Development

The first and most crucial step for a civil litigation lawyer is to evaluate the client’s case. They conduct thorough interviews with the client, gather evidence, review documents, and assess the merits of the claim. Based on this evaluation, the attorney devises a strategy to achieve the best possible outcome for their client. They will determine whether to pursue litigation or seek alternative dispute resolution methods, such as negotiation, mediation, or arbitration.

Drafting Pleadings and Pretrial Motions

Once the civil litigation attorney decides to proceed with the case in court, they draft the necessary legal documents, known as pleadings, which initiate the lawsuit. These pleadings typically include a complaint, which outlines the client’s allegations against the opposing party, and an answer, in which the defendant responds to the allegations.

In the pretrial phase, the attorney may file motions to request specific actions or seek the court’s ruling on certain legal matters related to the case. These pretrial motions can be critical in shaping the course of the litigation.

Discovery and Evidence Gathering

During the discovery process, civil litigation lawyers obtain and exchange relevant information and evidence with the opposing party. This can involve interrogatories (written questions), requests for document production, depositions (oral testimony under oath), and expert witness interviews. The attorney’s ability to collect strong evidence can significantly impact the case’s strength and leverage during settlement negotiations.

Settlement Negotiations

Many civil litigation cases are resolved through settlement negotiations before reaching trial. A skilled civil litigation lawyer will advocate for their client’s interests during these negotiations, striving to secure a favorable settlement that meets the client’s objectives. They must be effective communicators and negotiators to reach mutually agreeable resolutions.

Trial Representation

If a settlement cannot be reached, the case proceeds to trial, where the civil litigation lawyer acts as the advocate for their client in the courtroom. They present the evidence, examine witnesses, cross-examine the opposing party’s witnesses, and make persuasive arguments to the judge and/or jury. Trial representation demands not only legal expertise but also strong communication and presentation skills.

Appeals and Post-Trial Matters

In the event of an unfavorable outcome at trial, the civil litigation lawyer may handle the appeals process. They will identify potential errors or legal issues during the trial and present arguments to a higher court, seeking a reversal or modification of the trial court’s decision.


Civil litigation lawyers are indispensable in resolving legal disputes that do not involve criminal charges. Their expertise in case evaluation, strategy development, evidence gathering, negotiation, trial representation, and appeals ensures that clients receive effective and diligent legal representation throughout the entire legal process. Whether in a courtroom or during settlement negotiations, these attorneys tirelessly advocate for their clients’ rights and interests, seeking justice and fair resolutions to complex legal conflicts.

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