September 17, 2012

The Civil Lawyer and His Role in the Court

By Abraham Avotina -

As you probably already know, courts are divided into two categories: cases of criminal law and those of civil law. Criminal cases are tried by the state and result in government-enforced punishments for the defendants should he be found guilty. Prison, probation, fines, etc. In the civil law system, the matter is between two or more parties. These matters could include business transactions, employment matters, environmental concerns, personal injury, divorce, or any of a myriad of issues that could come up between two individuals or companies. The end result of such a trial is typically a monetary reward of some kind (or the denial of one). A civil lawyer plays the role of advocating for either the plaintiff or the defendant in these cases.


You will usually find that a civil lawyer will limit himself to one or two specialties in practice. You may find larger firms that handle all manner of civil cases, but most individual attorneys will only specialize in a particular area. This is because every “subgenre” of the law is vast and can provide even the most dedicated attorney with a lifetime of exploration and learning. When choosing an attorney for your case, it makes sense to pick one who specializes in the specific area your situation pertains to. Even within a relatively focused specialty such as personal injury, one attorney may be more experienced in car accidents while another may be more focused on medical malpractice.


Contrary to what you may imagine to be the case, the vast majority of big civil cases are settled out of court. The defendants realize that going to court is going to be costly and the evidence may indicate they have little hope of winning. Putting any case before a jury is a risky proposition for both the plaintiff and the defendant. Juries can be unpredictable. Often, it is in both parties’ best interests to come to an agreement out of court. If your lawyer begins talking “settlement”, don’t treat it as defeat. This is simply the way of the system.

Choosing a Lawyer

Choosing a lawyer to take your case is not a decision to be taken lightly. Don’t just run with the first name you find in a phone book, in other words. Take your time, do your research, and meet with multiple attorneys if need be. Make sure the guy you hire has a good track record and that you have a personal rapport with them. Above all, make sure you’re on the same page. It can be frustrating to go through a case when your attorney is constantly pulling you in a different direction. Find someone compatible and experienced and your case will stand a much better chance of being successful.

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