Navigating Legal Challenges: The Role and Expertise of a Civil Litigation Lawyer

Ontario’s courts handle over 170,000 new civil cases every year. These range from contractual disputes to property damage claims and divorce to child custody. Civil litigation is a complex subject, comprising federal and provincial legislation, decisions of the court, and the complex rules that govern the entire process. It’s why most people turn to civil litigation lawyers to advocate for their interests and assert their rights.

A Quick Overview of the Civil Litigation Process

We have explored the civil litigation process in greater detail in a previous article. However, here’s a quick recap of what the process looks like:

  1. Claim
  2. Defence
  3. Discovery
  4. Mediation
  5. Trial
  6. Appeal

This is an extremely simplified way of how most civil cases progress, though many are settled before they reach the courtroom. In practice, the evidence your lawyers gather, the legal strategy, expertise, and the conduct of the other party impact the overall outcome.

Covering the Services a Litigation Attorney Provides

The strength of your case and the ultimate outcomes rely heavily on the experience and expertise of your lawyers. Here are some services your litigation attorneys will provide:

  • Evaluating the Case – Your lawyers will assess the case based on the facts, Ontario and federal laws, and precedent. Based on this, they will advise you on favourable outcomes and the strategy to adopt.
  • Investigation – Preparing a strong case requires investigating the facts and gathering evidence to support it. Lawyers may reach out to experts for analysis and gather witness testimony and documentary evidence.
  • Demand Letters – Prior to commencing a case, your lawyers draft a demand letter to the other party. This will outline the claim and attempt to settle the matter, potentially resolving it in a cost-effective and efficient manner.
  • Drafting – The litigation process begins once the Statement of Claim or a Notice of Action is filed by your lawyers. If you are on the defence, your lawyers will draft the Statement of Defence and Counterclaim, as required.
  • Motions – Prior to trial, your lawyers may also file motions on your behalf. These can be injunctions – for example, preventing a spouse from taking your children out of the country – summary judgments, or other procedural requests.
  • Discovery – Your lawyers will complete the Discovery process, exchanging documents relevant to the issues at hand with the other party’s lawyers. Moreover, they will carry out Examinations for Discovery, where they will question the other party or witnesses under oath before trial.
  • Negotiation – Lawyers will often engage in negotiations with the other parties to settle the case.
  • Pre-Trial Conferences – Your lawyers will prepare the case according to the process laid down by Ontario’s Rules of Civil Procedure. Moreover, they will work with the judge to prepare a timeline for the case.
  • Representation – If your case proceeds to trial, your lawyers will advocate on your behalf. This requires a combination of courtcraft, knowledge of the law, and experience handling similar matters. Depending on the nature and value of the case, this may mean representation before the Superior Court of Justice or Small Claims Court. Furthermore, if you need to appeal the court’s decision, they may also represent you at the Divisional Court or the Court of Appeal for Ontario.
  • Post-Trial Support – Once the court reaches its decision, your lawyers ensure the order is enforced. That can mean representing you before rehabilitation teams, contacting the police, or even filing a contempt motion.

Expertise That Trial Lawyers for Civil Cases Offer

Your trial lawyers for civil cases will play a pivotal role. From the outset, they will advise and guide you, protect your interests, and put forward a strong case on your behalf. Here are a few reasons why the experience and knowledge of your civil lawyer are so important:

  • Legal Knowledge – Knowing the intricacies of the law, civil procedure, and how cases evolve are vital knowledge a lawyer brings. Armed with expertise, your lawyer can help you manage your emotions and make informed, rational decisions. Moreover, they will be able to assess your chances of success and prepare you for the outcomes you should expect.
  • Analytical Skills – It’s not just legislation and case law that your lawyers analyze; they will also take time to understand your circumstances. This allows them to help develop a legal strategy that achieves your preferred outcomes.
  • Communication – Your lawyer will become the primary thread connecting you to your claim. From keeping you informed of developments in the case to dates when you are required to attend court, there is a lot you will rely on your lawyers to communicate to you. It is essential that your lawyers are responsive and available when you need them.
  • Case Preparation – The strength of a case depends immensely on initial preparation. The effectiveness of your lawyers’ investigative efforts and preparation can affect how expeditiously the case is resolved and if it achieves your intended goals.
  • Courtcraft – One of the most important skills of a lawyer is their courtcraft. Whether it’s presenting evidence, conducting cross-examination, or communicating the gravity of your case, your lawyers’ ability to sway the court is quintessential.

The Importance of a Civil Litigation Lawyer: Doing Your Due Diligence

Unless you have recently experienced a civil case, you will need to search for a lawyer. The importance of a civil litigation lawyer to the overall case necessitates the need to work with an experienced team. A track record of success is vital, too, though past achievements do not necessarily point to future successes.

Here are a few things to look out for:

  • Do lawyers specialize in cases of your type?
  • How many years of experience do they bring?
  • Is the lawyer or law firm well-regarded in the community?
  • Do they have the resources to represent you effectively?
  • What is their fee structure? How do they deliver value?
  • Do you feel comfortable talking to and working with your lawyer?

Individuals and Businesses Turn to Us for Legal Dispute Resolution

Disputes can drain your energy and resources, preventing you from looking ahead. It’s why Lancaster Chown & Welch LLP has been a trusted legal dispute resolution partner for over 140 years. Our lawyers have earned a reputation for achieving favourable results in a cost-efficient manner. We are trusted advisors for individuals and businesses alike.

Schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your needs with a civil litigation lawyer today.