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Litigation is the process of preparing a case for trial, and if a settlement cannot be reached, presenting the case at trial and handling appeals. Litigators develop the best legal theories in support of their client’s case, gather the relevant documents and facts through discovery requests and depositions, and research and draft pretrial motions.

If the case is not settled or dismissed, it proceeds to trial. At trial, litigators select the jury, make opening and closing statements, introduce exhibits, examine and cross-examine witnesses, and make and/or renew objections to preserve the record for appeal. Any area of the law can be the subject of litigation. Some litigators are generalists whose practice includes a wide range of matters.

Most specialize in one or more areas of the law. Commercial litigation generally involves one or more business entity and a financial dispute. Some commercial litigators have a sub-specialty in a particular area of the law such as antitrust, securities, or intellectual property. Commercial litigators often represent both plaintiffs and defendants. With many other civil litigation practices, especially personal injury, medical malpractice, product liability/toxic tort, and employment discrimination, litigators usually represent plaintiffs or defendants, not both.

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