While every case is fact specific and, therefore, different, most cases involve many of the same steps. These include:
- Initial investigation and/or legal research for possible legal causes of action for the client’s grievance;
- Pre-suit demand (when warranted, most commonly used in personal injury cases, or breach of contract cases);
- Filing law suit in court;
- Locating and serving the Defendant(s) with the court documents;
- Waiting for the Defendant(s) to respond to the lawsuit. Defendant’s response may be a Motion to Dismiss;
- Often preparing briefs in court as to why this case should not be dismissed;
- Discovery- the largest part of the lawsuit is spent on discovering evidence and information from the other side and learning what information the other side will use at trial (such discovery process is in stark contrast to the european system, which includes very limited discovery). Basically, no one should go to trial and be blind-sided (this is not Perry Mason on TV). Discovery may take years to complete based on the complexity of the case. Discovery includes the exchange of written questions, requests for documents and electronic documents, depositions and other activities like site inspections. A deposition involves the taking of a sworn statement before a court reporter who prepares a transcript of the proceedings.
- Trial. Trials can be jury trials or bench trials (a trial without a jury, the judge decides the case).