When a dispute between individuals escalates, it often leads to litigation. Retaining the services of experienced Houston civil litigation lawyers is an essential step in the legal process. They understand the nuances of negotiation and know how to use effective courtroom strategies for the best possible outcome.
Stages of Civil Litigation
Each part of the process offers Houston consumer law attorneys unique opportunities to draw from their bag of professional tricks. Strategic knowledge is most beneficial during the following stages:
3. Witness depositions
A preliminary consultation with an attorney clarifies the issues and provides a realistic view of the upcoming litigation. Early on, the attorney and client strategize an approach and a philosophy for the case. If the aim is to reach a pre-trial settlement, they proceed differently than if a quick and favorable court decision is the goal.
An experienced litigator for the defense calls upon the tricks of the trade during the initial pleading phase. As the plaintiff pleads the issues at hand, the opposing attorney methodically picks them apart, calling everything into question from typographical errors to conflicting allegations. With the intent to rattle the plaintiff and draw out the proceedings, the defense attorney calls for clarification or even dismissal of the case as often as possible.
As an attorney for the plaintiff, the experienced litigator avoids the above tricks by paring down the pleadings to a very few basic points. Clarity and simplicity are the most effective pleading tricks for the plaintiff.
The discovery phase of litigation offers Houston consumer law and Houston commercial law attorneys the chance to apply some strategy tactics. For example, a savvy attorney will make the inquiries as broad as possible, hoping the opposition will reveal more than it intended. Conversely, a clever attorney tends to provide only a bare minimum of information in response to other’s questions.
Crafting partial or evasive replies, objecting to every question and delaying responses as long as possible are some other strategies an experienced lawyer may employ. An attorney for the defense often chooses to extend each phase of trial because the opponents are anxious to save time and collect compensation.
A skilled litigation attorney pulls out the stops when questioning a witness one-on-one outside the courtroom. If the witness is nervous, the lawyer might ask argumentative or rapid-fire questions that pressure the witness into revealing more than intended. Alternatively, the lawyer might be friendly and solicitous toward a reluctant witness, creating an intimate atmosphere that invites confessions. A good litigator could outsmart a sly witness or crack a frightened one using the tricks learned through professional experience.
The courtroom phase of litigation is a literal showcase for legal maneuvers. The savvy attorney applies all the usual tricks – delays, objections, calls for dismissal – but brings additional strategies into play as needed. Using tools such as visual aids and expert testimony, the attorney presents the client’s case as thoroughly justified and reasonable while showing the opposition to be clearly in the wrong. The opposing attorney must be agile in raising objections and disputing dubious allegations.
During the closing arguments, a strong litigator is confident, knowledgeable, aggressive and selective. An experienced lawyer appeals to the judge’s ethical and emotional sensibilities. Implying that inexperience or dishonesty affects the opposition’s case and is not out of the question.
Experienced litigation lawyers, whether practicing Houston consumer law or Houston commercial law, rely on some creative strategies in successfully representing their clients. Anyone who is considering taking a dispute to court should seek professional legal counsel.