Civil Litigation Attorney in New York

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 What Is a New York Civil Litigation Attorney?

A civil litigation attorney in New York State is an attorney who has a license to practice law in New York and devotes their practice to representing clients in civil lawsuits. Civil litigation attorneys may be distinguished from other civil attorneys who deal with issues that are civil in nature but do not involve lawsuits. Examples of civil law services of this type would be obtaining patent protection from the U.S. Patent Office or drafting and reviewing commercial leases.

A civil litigation attorney, or “litigator,” represents only clients who are parties to a lawsuit involving civil law in a civil court. Their clients hire them either to file and prosecute or to defend civil lawsuits. A civil law attorney usually practices in one of the following fields of law:

  • Commercial contract disputes;
  • Personal Injury law;
  • Infringement on intellectual property rights;
  • Family law;
  • Business and finance law;
  • Landlord and tenant law.

Civil litigation attorneys may also be distinguished from lawyers who work in the field of criminal law. Civil law is a branch of law that can be distinguished from criminal law. Criminal law is the law of crime and punishment for criminal convictions.

The lawyers involved may be criminal prosecutors who work for the government agencies that prosecute the alleged perpetrators of criminal offenses. Then there are criminal defense attorneys who defend people who have been charged with criminal offenses.

When Should I Hire a Civil Litigation Attorney?

A person may have received a summons and a complaint notifying them that they have been named as a defendant in a civil action. In that case, they definitely want to consult a civil litigation attorney.

Nowadays, a person may have some kind of insurance coverage, such as a homeowners’ insurance policy or a car insurance policy, that would pay for the loss that may result from a civil lawsuit. So, one thing a person would want to ask their attorney is whether one of their insurance policies would cover the loss and the cost of representation by an attorney.

In some cases, a person’s insurance company would also pay the lawyer to represent the person who is covered by the policy. This would be true, for example, if a person is sued for their negligence in causing a car accident. The person’s car insurance should pay an attorney to defend the person in the lawsuit.

What Should I Expect from My Civil Law Attorney?

When a person hires an attorney to represent them in a civil lawsuit, the attorney should handle all aspects of the case. This is true whether the attorney represents the plaintiff, the person who starts the lawsuit, or the defendant, the person who is sued.

If the attorney represents the plaintiff, the attorney’s first step is to draft a complaint, the legal document that states the causes of action of the plaintiff and the remedy they seek. The complaint must be filed with the clerk of the appropriate civil court. The attorney should know in which court to file the lawsuit. After filing, the plaintiff’s attorney arranges for a copy to be served on the defendant.

The defendant has to file their answer to the complaint, usually within 30 days. The filing of the complaint, the answer and related actions are all part of the “pleading” stage of the lawsuit.

When the pleadings have been filed, the pre-trial phase of a civil suit begins. The discovery process is an important part of the pre-trial phase of a civil lawsuit. The steps to discovery in most cases would include the following:

  • Planning discovery and then executing the plan;
  • Taking the depositions of witnesses;
  • Identifying whether expert witnesses are needed;
  • If expert witnesses are required, identifying the appropriate experts and preparing them to participate in the case;
  • Making requests for discovery to the other party, e.g., the production of documents; and
  • Enforcing the requests made if the other party does not respond as required.

During the pre-trial phase, each party evaluates the evidence that is discovered. They might explore the possibility of a settlement. If the parties cannot agree to settle, a civil attorney would prepare the case for trial and proceed to the trial of the case. This may involve:

  • Filing various motions both before and during the trial;
  • Appearing in court as necessary;
  • Participating in selecting the jurors, if it is to be a jury trial;
  • Preparing and presenting evidence at trial;
  • Questioning the witnesses who testify;
  • Making arguments to the jury.

A few additional actions that a person may expect from their civil litigation attorney are the following:

  • Drafting of a settlement agreement if the parties do agree to settle;
  • Recovering the most appropriate civil legal remedies in a case.

Licensed civil attorneys in New York must obey the New York Rules of Professional Conduct. These rules compel attorneys to behave ethically and in a manner that best serves their client’s interests.

For example, the rules prevent a lawyer from representing another person whose interests would conflict with those of an existing client. Civil attorneys are also obligated to maintain the confidentiality of client communications. This means that the attorney cannot disclose information they learn in the course of representing a person to anyone else.

A person should expect their civil attorney to tell them about any settlement offers and to counter-offer as the person indicates. A person should also expect their attorney to communicate with them honestly about their chances of winning their lawsuit. A civil attorney should advise their client fully and openly about how they are going to charge the client and then charge them as promised.

It is important to note that a client has control over their own lawsuit. In the final analysis, it is the client who should decide which party or parties to sue and when to file a lawsuit. An attorney should communicate all settlement offers to their client, and it is the client, in the end, who decides whether to agree to or reject a settlement offer. However, a person should defer to their lawyer’s judgment in legal decisions and adhere to the advice their lawyer gives them.

A person should select a lawyer they feel they can trust and with whom they can work comfortably. If a person does not feel they can trust an attorney, they should look for a different one.

How Much Does a Civil Litigation Attorney Cost?

The total cost of a civil litigation attorney’s representation for a case is going to depend on several factors. One factor is how long the case lasts from beginning to end. If a case is resolved early in the process, the cost would be lower than it would be if the case proceeds to the end of a civil trial.

Generally, clients pay their civil litigation attorneys in one of three ways:

  • Hourly fee: The client pays their attorney a certain amount per hour of their work. The attorney bills the client for the total number of hours they have worked every month;
  • Contingency fee: Personal injury attorneys are usually paid a contingency fee, which is a percentage of the amount of money they win for their client. If they do not win an award, they are not paid;
  • Flat fee: Attorneys sometimes accept a single lump sum, or flat fee, as payment for handling a case. This might be true if the case is a simple bankruptcy or an uncomplicated divorce.

The cost of civil suit lawyers might also be affected by the complexity of the case if the attorney is paid on an hourly basis. If a case is straightforward and uncomplicated, the attorneys would devote fewer hours to it, and the total fees would probably be lower than they might be if the case were to demand a lot more of an attorney’s time.

How the attorney charges the client, whether a flat fee, a contingency fee or an hourly fee clearly is going to have an impact on the total cost.

In some cases, the law may allow the victorious party or the other to collect their attorney’s fees from the other party. A local New York attorney would be able to explain more.

Do I Need a Civil Litigation Attorney?

If you have been served with a lawsuit or believe you have reason to sue another person or entity, you should consult a civil litigation attorney in New York as soon as possible. can connect you to a qualified, experienced attorney who can give you the professional advice and guidance you need to get the best possible result for your issue.

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