What Is a Litigator?

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“If you work in law, you can provide legal advice to clients and assist them in resolving significant challenges. Litigation is one legal specialty you might choose. To determine if a litigation career matches your interests, you should be aware of the details of this career.”

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What Is a Litigator?

This article explains What Is a Litigator, the litigator’s role, and describes their responsibilities. How to become one, and describes the skills and salary associated with the job.


How Does a Litigator Work?

Litigators help clients resolve disputes with others through legal means, including:

  • Lawsuits,
  • Negotiations,
  • Trials,
  • Settlements,
  • Appeals,
  • And more.

Litigation involves a variety of strategies and tactics, from lawsuits to negotiations to trials. It is possible to resolve most cases without a trial. But a litigator is well-prepared to represent their client’s interests at trial.

It is common for litigators to deal with clients of all types, including:

  • Individuals,
  • Companies,
  • And government agencies.

Litigators must often have a broad range of legal knowledge as they must anticipate their opponent’s next move and understand the law thoroughly.

Generally, a lawyer’s main objective is for their client to secure a favorable settlement from the other party in the case. Whether negotiation or mediation can achieve this goal, a trial may be necessary. A successful litigator must be a good communicator, an excellent writer, a researcher, and capable of thinking quickly.


A Litigator’s Workflow

Generally, litigation involves several steps, and how involved a litigator is in each step depends on the firm’s location. A small firm’s sole proprietor or litigator may be heavily involved. Depending on their seniority, those at larger firms may have different degrees of involvement throughout the process.


Litigation usually begins with an investigation.

Litigation usually begins with a thorough investigation to determine the information that could ultimately influence its outcome.

To conduct an investigation, you may need the assistance of other professionals. Like accountants or private investigators. And you may need to identify and interview witnesses with valuable information or knowledge. As a result, the client’s case will be supported by evidence.


Must file a pleading explaining their client’s perspective.

To argue a legal issue in court, a litigator must file a pleading explaining their client’s perspective. There must be pleadings by both parties. If the client of the litigators is taking action in court, the client has to submit a complaint and hand it to the defendant when filing it. A defendant must respond to any complaint made by the litigator’s client.


The investigation continues by discovering and exchanging relevant information.

Once legal action occurs, the investigation continues by discovering and exchanging relevant information between the parties. During this period, litigators conduct depositions. Where they interview opposing counsel and obtain witnesses. They can also ask the court for decisions before the trial begins through motions.


The pre-trial phase

After the trial is about to begin, the litigator usually handles all necessary conferences, hearings, and meetings on behalf of the opposition.



An attorney involved in the case may negotiate a settlement during the pre-trial phase. The litigator has a responsibility to participate in this process.



The case goes to trial if the litigators cannot reach a settlement agreement during pre-trial. In a trial, a litigator assists the client in choosing a jury, makes opening and closing arguments, questions witnesses, and introduces evidence as the client’s representative.


The appeal

A litigator’s client may appeal the outcome of a trial if the decision is unsatisfactory. To do so, the litigator must provide evidence of the reason for the appeal, such as a legal error.


Which Types of Categories/Cases Do Litigators Handle?

Generally, litigation attorneys fall into two categories: criminal and civil. Criminal litigators are responsible for representing clients whose actions have been accused of wrongdoing and are often capable of obtaining plea deals or dropping charges.


Which Types of Categories/Cases Do Litigators Handle?


Civil litigation is the process of resolving any dispute or dispute between people or organizations that require legal assistance. Due to civil litigation’s wide range of areas, many litigators specialize in only one or a few.

  • Disputes over contracts
  • Cases involving personal injury
  • Lawsuits involving class actions
  • Disputations over real estate
  • Disputes involving divorce, custody, and other family law issues
  • Disputes regarding lending and banking
  • Disputes involving workers’ compensation
  • Disagreements in construction
  • Intellectual property disputes and patent law


What Type of Work Distinguishes a Lawyer from A Litigator?

It is their type of work that distinguishes a lawyer from a litigator. A litigator participates in trial proceedings or litigation, while a lawyer may or may not participate in jury trials. Although many lawyers work their entire careers as professional attorneys or lawyers, they never present evidence before a jury.

The criminal defense lawyer is an example of a litigator since they often present evidence to a jury and judge to support their clients. Contract lawyers may only represent a specific party in a business contract and never appear in court, so they aren’t litigators.


The Steps to Becoming a Litigator

You can become a litigator by following the steps below:


Graduation from high school

To become a litigator, you must first earn a high school diploma. Your academic history must demonstrate your commitment to learning since many colleges and universities use high school transcripts to determine admission. Take classes like debate or political science to gain knowledge of the law and prepare you for a career.


You must enroll in a university or college.

To earn your bachelor’s degree, you must enroll in a university or college after obtaining your high school diploma. Research which majors different schools offers so you can decide where to apply based on your interests. Lawyers often study political science, law, philosophy, humanities, or history for their undergraduate degree.

Furthermore, you may find useful courses in politics, economics, sociology, psychology, and other subjects useful in preparing for a legal career in the future. Before working in the courtroom, you can also sign up for classes or clubs that conduct mock trials to help you gain confidence.


Apply to law school by taking the LSAT.

Before being admitted to law school, one of the major requirements is passing the LSAT. It measures your ability to comprehend written passages, think critically, and solve problems on the LSAT. Including various questions and a writing sample.

Since the LSAT is only available at certain times throughout the year, it’s important to study for it so you can apply immediately to law schools.


Earn a Juris Doctorate (J.D.)

To earn a J.D., you must complete law school, which lasts for typically three years and covers topics such as:

  • Legal procedures,
  • Evidence-gathering ethics,
  • And legal writing.

Additionally, you may take courses in various legal areas, such as:

  • Civil law,
  • Criminal law,
  • Environmental law,
  • Property law,
  • And business law.

Your school’s program may also allow you to specialize in litigation. Consider completing an internship while you’re still in law school.


Sign up for the bar exam and get a good passing score.

Sign up for the bar exam according to where you plan to practice because each state administers it differently. Passing the bar exam to demonstrate your knowledge to be an effective attorney is important. It covers basic and advanced legal topics and questions about your state’s laws.


Search for law firms that hire trial attorneys.

For a legal position as a litigator, search for law firms that hire trial attorneys. Write a resume that appeals to the hiring manager of each firm by keeping in mind the skills and other requirements they look for in litigators as you review job openings.

The resume and cover letter can help you highlight your courses and accomplishments. Even if you still need to gain litigation experience. If you have any internship or job experience that qualifies you for the field, you can also share it.


A Litigator Should Be Who?

A litigation specialty is right for someone who is okay without the mind being the center of attention or even enjoying the spotlight. Courtroom scenes on television and in movies tend to be aggressive and dramatic, so it usually draws extroverts. However, litigation has something for everyone.

In contrast to the loudest and most boisterous litigators, the most successful attorneys are the most curious, detail-oriented, and willing to work harder than their opponents.

Moreover, litigation can arise in any law, from criminal to tax. So, a person’s background and educational profile do not limit their chances of success. The ability to master the procedural rules of a case and dive deeply into the facts is necessary for anyone wishing to pursue a career in litigation.

The legal litigation profession can also be a great fit for the service-minded since people can enjoy your help when needed. People can tell their stories and receive treatment with dignity and respect in our judicial system.

Often, people turn to lawyers at times when they feel most vulnerable. A good attorney can guide and advocate for them through the legal process. And make sure they sleep better at night.


Developing Or Improving Foundational Litigation Skills

Developing or improving these skills can make you a more successful litigator:



Rather than go to trial, many disputes will settle. Negotiation skills can assist you in convincing the other party to settle or resolve some parts of the dispute, enabling your trial to proceed more quickly.


Observational skills:

An important part of a litigator’s job is carefully reading through large amounts of material and noticing small details that can significantly impact a case’s outcome. Observing a witness’s ability to testify and research similar cases can also help you establish potential outcomes using observational skills.


Effectively communicate in court:

To effectively communicate in court, litigators need to be able to create arguments and present them in front of a judge and jury. Communicating in writing is also essential since litigators often file pleadings and motions with the court.


Must be prepared for different scenarios:

As trials can be unpredictable, litigators must be prepared for different scenarios and learn new things. For example, during witness testimony, litigators may learn something new to apply during closing arguments.


Litigators’ Salaries and Job Prospects

The average annual salary for litigation attorneys in the United States is $119,058. However, this depends on the experience and location of the litigator.

In July 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) did not publish specific statistics about the role of litigators. However, they predict job opportunities for lawyers will increase by 10% through the 2031 median for all occupations in that period.


Is There Anything That Makes a Good Litigator?

Since litigators appear in court and write legal briefs, they must be able to communicate verbally and in writing. This job requires researching, formulating coherent, comprehensive legal arguments, and communicating with clients and attorneys representing opposing sides. Honing these skills is essential to passing law school.

A good litigator can negotiate beneficial settlements and convince clients to accept them.


Litigation Benefits

The parties can often work out disagreements more cost-effectively by seeking other solutions. Even though mediation and other forms of conflict resolution can be helpful.


I.P. protection

A company’s intellectual property, which can be its most valuable asset, can often be protected through litigation. Using the courts’ power might be your only option for protecting your reputation and gaining that protection.

Invention owners, musicians, and writers could benefit from litigation to enforce their rights. A copyright, patent, trademark, or trade secret may fall under this category.



Despite its benefits, mediation may not establish precedents in the business arena when settling disputes. The publication of legal documents, court appeals, and the legal press may still be public even though mediation is private.

Litigating in court can, however, provide lasting benefits in the form of precedents. Using previous rulings, companies can reinforce their argument and measure comparable disputes rather than starting from scratch on each new case.



Some cases, especially small-scale disputes, can be handled quickly by the courts. It could be more cost-effective by litigating. Even though other means of settling disputes. Such as ADRs are generally less expensive than more serious disputes, and litigation can be cheaper than expected.

Alternative Dispute Resolution includes arbitration and mediation, both ADR types. Due to similar costs, such as:

  • Hiring a solicitor,
  • Venue fees,
  • And other fees,
  • Litigation has a similar cost structure to other forms of alternative dispute resolution.

Using litigation can provide a legally binding resolution after heading up the cost. And many disputes using alternative dispute resolution may ultimately end up in court.


Recorded publicly

It is more effective to use ADR to settle disagreements confidentially. It is possible to prosecute through the courts, but a public record might be helpful in other scenarios.

This will result in the public announcement of judgment in legal proceedings, reducing the likelihood of damage. It can prevent rumors or inaccurate information and reduce social media speculation.

Taking the matter to court also conveys that you and your business should not play around with it. Which will discourage other parties from contacting you.


Litigation Disadvantages

Once a judge decides your case, an outcome is guaranteed, which can be a tedious and emotionally draining experience.

For this reason, alternative dispute resolution methods are becoming increasingly popular, including mediation and arbitration. Moreover, litigation can be very expensive. From the moment you start a case, its outcome is impossible to predict, and if it becomes more complicated, you may have to incur unforeseen expenses.


Backlog of court cases

A huge backlog of cases usually awaits a court date in the United States. Courts due to the high number of cases waiting for a court date.

Resolving your case can take several months, even with a hearing date set. There can often be extra expenses and emotional stress waiting for a court date. We also experience frequent delays and rescheduling of court proceedings in the USA. Which can add to the stress and costs.

Often, you may even have to wait for another party to schedule a date, which can result in lengthy proceedings. Using ADR techniques like arbitration and mediation may enable you to resolve more quickly and less bureaucratically.


It usually takes a long period.

The resolution of litigation, especially in more complex cases, usually takes a long period. As long as several years pass, it is sometimes possible for a judgment to come into effect.

The United States. Legal proceedings can take a long to conclude, which may cause both parties to wait. In some cases, arbitration or mediation is the best course of action if a quick decision is required or would benefit the situation.

Both sides may benefit from considering other approaches to reach a reasonable conclusion.


It is impersonal to litigate

By choosing litigation to resolve a dispute, building rapport through communication is usually impossible.

In most cases, court hearings do not allow building rapport between parties. A judge will typically only know the key facts of a case, so think carefully before going to court in some cases.

Before resolving your dispute without going to trial, consult a lawyer with experience in dispute resolution before starting.

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