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What is the Role and Responsibilities of a Litigation Attorney?

Updated: May 11, 2022

A litigation attorney, often called a trial lawyer, or litigator handles everything to do with the litigation process from before court, during court, and after court.

Litigation is when an individual, a group, or a business takes legal action against another party in a court of law. Such a case is a civil lawsuit, meaning one private party against another.

A plaintiff initiates a lawsuit, while the defendant is the sued party. A litigation attorney represents a plaintiff or defendant in civil lawsuits, including:

  • Personal injury (e.g., car accidents, defamation, intentional actions, negligence, etc.)

  • Business disputes (e.g., breach of contract).

  • Property disputes (e.g., land disputes, Intellectual Property disputes).

  • Family law cases (e.g., divorce)

  • Landlord/tenant cases (e.g., security deposit disputes)

  • Employment disputes (e.g., harassment claims, wage disputes).

The only things lost in a civil lawsuit are money and time, which is why most litigations are quickly settled out of court to reduce money losses.

What Does a Litigation Attorney Do?

Anything you say regarding the lawsuit can incriminate you. It is better if a litigation attorney represents you to keep emotions out of the case.

A litigation attorney guides you through the legal muddle, advises you, and speaks on your behalf. Your litigation attorney will work with you to create a winning strategy, represent you in everything regarding the case and advise you every step of the way, including what to say in court and how to say it.

With a litigation attorney by your side, you have better chances of winning the case.

Your litigation attorney can negotiate a settlement with the other party at any time during the case.

Experienced litigation attorneys know the process, trends, and tricks in the legal system. They know how to handle court procedures and juries. They know when to stop and when to keep pushing.

Litigators are your knowledgeable friends in exchange for monetary compensation. A litigation attorney might not always win the case, but they will always negotiate the most favorable terms for their client.

Litigation Attorney

The Role and Responsibilities Of A Litigation Attorney

Once you hire a litigation attorney, he/she takes over the case as your legal counsel and representative. Let's take an in-depth look at the role and responsibilities of a litigation attorney.

Consulting with Clients

To begin the case, a plaintiff will consult with the litigation attorney, who will review the case and advise on the way forward. Similarly, when served with a lawsuit, the first thing a defendant does is review the complaint with a litigation attorney.

Clients need to confide in their litigators to help them figure out their best chances of winning the lawsuit. The litigators will advise on the way forward.

Conduct A Case Assessment And Investigation.

A litigation attorney representing a plaintiff carries out the necessary investigations to justify the complaint. The attorney determines if the case is strong enough to warrant a lawsuit.

Acting in the client's best interest, the plaintiff's litigation attorney can negotiate a resolution with the other party before filing a lawsuit.

As for the defendant's litigator, he/she will investigate the case to strengthen their defense.

The litigator's investigations will include:

  • Interviewing the client (i.e., you).

  • Determine why and how the dispute occurred to get the facts right.

  • Finding and interviewing witnesses to get their statements.

  • Gathering and reviewing relevant documents (e.g., receipts, contracts).

Drafting Documents

Lawsuits involve filing various documents with the court. It begins with a complaint. The plaintiff's trial lawyer will draft and file the complaint with a court and serve a copy of the complaint to the defendant's attorney.

The complaint shows how the defendant has injured the plaintiff and asks the court to intervene.

The defendant's attorney can reach out to the plaintiff's attorney to settle out of court. Despite negotiations, the defendant has to respond to the complaint within the deadline (typically 20 calendar days).

The defendant's trial lawyer collaborates with the client to draft and file an answer with the court. They can respond with a counterclaim (i.e., sue the plaintiff). Or file a dismiss motion. Or file for a more definitive statement.

Every litigation attorney serves the other party with any document they file with the court.

Collect And Exchange Information About The Other Party

The litigation attorneys exchange information to learn more and solidify their winning strategies. In preparation for the court appearance, litigators prepare evidence and polish their strategy. They analyze the strengths and weaknesses in their case to select the most persuasive arguments.

Representation In Trial

The litigator presents their client's narrative in court, cross-examines witnesses, and argues the case with evidence and testimonies.


The litigation attorney will draft post-trial motions and appellate documents and argue the case in the appellate court.

Those are the role and responsibilities of a litigation attorney. The litigation process can be overwhelming and confusing without legal counsel. At Smith Woolf, Anderson & Wilkinson, we take the legal burden off your shoulders, providing highly specialized expertise through our experienced litigation attorneys. Reach out to us today to know how we can help you.

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