Various Roles that Lawyers Play in Lawsuits and Law
The Discovery Period
Once both pleadings are filed by the defendant and plaintiff, the next step of the lawsuit begins – discovery. At this point evidence needs to be gathered for both sides of the case to try and help the courts decide whether the defendant is liable or not. A lawyer at this point will gather information through requesting documents, requesting admissions, depositions, interrogatories, as well as sometimes requesting for an independent medical examination. During the discovery period, the judge may meet with each parties lawyers to see how the case is coming along.
Interrogatories are when the lawyer prepares questions to ask the defendant or their lawyer. The answers given to these questions can be used as evidence in the case itself. For the defendant’s lawyer it is their job to ensure that their client only answers the question at hand and advises them on how to word and say their answer.
Depositions are one of the most important roles of the lawyer during the discovery stage of the lawsuit process. Depositions are interviews with key witnesses and other people who may be able to help provide information for the case. Witnesses can be tested during deposition sessions to see if they will be good and reliable in court.
Settling out of Court
At this point the two parties can once again discuss settling out of court. The lawyers role at this point is to discuss with their client the potential of them winning their case and whether it is worth taking it to court or not. They may suggest settling if they don’t believe you have a good chance of winning.
If you decide to settle out of court a lawyer still has an important role in helping make the agreements of the settlement. You attorney by this point will know all the facts of the case and can advise you on a suitable settlement.
If it still can’t be settled outside of court it is the lawyers role to file a memorandum to set trial date. The lawyer must create and file a document outlining all the details of the case and what they want from their court whether it be a jury trial or bench trial. Different cases suit different types of trials, and it is the lawyers job to decide which is best for maximizing your chances of winning.
Before the trial
Before the trial there are pre-trial meetings where both the plaintiff and defendant’s lawyers go over what they are going to present in court. Often the lawyers also have to present a pretrial brief to the court outlining what they will present in court and all the facts of the case.
During the trial
Once the case is held in court the first job of the plaintiffs lawyer is to give an opening statement, then the defendants lawyer will also give an opening statement. Throughout the trial they have various other roles including both lawyers questioning the witnesses and arguing their cases before the judge and jury. At the end of the trial each lawyer sums up everything they said during the lawsuit until the jury or judge makes their final decision.
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