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The term civil litigation refers to a legal dispute between two or more parties that seek money damages or specific performance rather than criminal sanctions. A lawyer who specializes in civil litigation is known as a litigator or trial lawyer. Lawyers who practice civil litigation represent parties in trials, arbitrations and mediations before administrative agencies, foreign tribunals, and federal, state, and local courts. Several common types of civil litigation include environmental law, housing law, products liability, intellectual property, labor and employment, and antitrust.


Day-to-Day Activities

  • Interview the client and conduct an initial case investigation.
  • Draft complaints, answers and counterclaims.
  • Propound and respond to interrogatories and document requests.
  • Conduct and defend depositions.
  • Draft motions and memoranda of law.
  • Determine overall trial strategy.
  • Conduct settlement negotiations.
  • Perform jury selection as necessary.
  • Appear and argue for clients in federal and state court.

Practice Settings

  • Government (Federal, State and Local)
  • Legal Services
  • Interest/Advocacy Groups
  • Private Practice

Skill Set Required

  • Analytic skills
  • Legal research
  • Written advocacy
  • Oral advocacy
  • Ability to synthesize complex legal and factual materials
  • Client relations
  • Negotiation
  • Teamwork

Other Work Types