Civil litigation, including:
- Business law (Litigation and Contracts)
- Real estate matters
- Family law, including prenuptial agreements and paternity issues
- Trade secrets
- Personal injury
- Labor and employment law
- Probate litigation
- Appeals (all appellate courts, and small claims appeals)
A lawsuit begins by filing a complaint with the court. Once the complaint is filed, it is given a case number. Service of the complaint on the defendant starts a time period running (30 days in state court). By the end of that 30 days, the defendant must respond to the complaint.
In a lawsuit, most of the time is usually spent on discovery. Both parties may ask for documents, and may exchange written questions, called interrogatories. Also, a party may be asked to acknowledge the truth of a given fact, called Requests for Admissions. Responses are due within 30 days, and are signed under penalty of perjury.
A deposition is a proceeding where one party (the deponent) is questioned under oath. The deponent's attorney is always present to protect the interests of his or her client. Also present is a court reporter who types up everything that is said. These notes are made into a booklet which may be used in all later proceedings, including trial.
Not every case will go to trial. The vast majority settle beforehand, sometimes at arbitration or mediation.
In an Arbitration, a neutral third party (usually a retired judge or an attorney) will listen to the facts and legal arguments put forward by the parties and their attorneys. The arbitrator will then make a decision. If one side (or both) dislikes the decision, a request may be made to the court to set the case for trial, as long as the arbitration is not binding.
Mediation differs from arbitration in one crucial aspect. There is no decision by the neutral third party. Instead, the mediator talks to the parties separately and tries to see if they can reach common ground. If it does not settle, the parties will go to trial.
Family Law includes:
Divorce; Child custody and support;
Written contracts for businesses includes:
Trade Secrets and Non-Competition Agreements
Independent Contractor Agreements
Purchase and Sale of a Business
Real estate contracts