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All about lawsuits, mediation, arbitration and class action

Some legal conflicts can be resolved with careful negotiation and tactful reasoning, and if you're lucky, you won't see the inside of a courtroom or have to deal with piles of paperwork. Unfortunately, when things get beyond your control or you've arrived at a stalemate, you need to take stronger legal action. From litigation to mediation, there are several ways to approach a legal matter, and each requires a firm understanding of the case and the best way to present it. If you're faced with a legal matter that requires formal dispute resolution, like arbitration or a court trial, you'll need to enlist the help of a tactful and experienced lawyer.

How Lawsuits Work

Lawsuits come in all forms and demand varying degrees of preparation depending on the nature of the case. That being said, they are all formal legal processes that often require the investment of a good deal of time, knowledge and insight from experienced professionals. In addition to a clear understanding of your case, you need an intricate knowledge of the procedure for filing a lawsuit and attending a trial, as well as how to maximize your chances of success. Therefore, an attorney is an indispensible ally in any lawsuit.

The process begins with a complaint that is filed against a defendant, asking for damages and offering legal reasons to support the request. A court date is set, the defendant is summoned and the discovery phase begins. During discovery, testimonies may be given under oath, and both parties present their arguments to the judge in order to narrow the issues and avoid any surprises in the proceedings. The trial process can be long, and a case should be formed and presented with exceptional forethought and diligent research—while some people may assume this responsibility themselves, most will benefit much more from an attorney's advice and representation.

Types of Lawsuits

Not every lawsuit involves a courtroom and jury. Arbitration and mediation are alternative methods of resolving disputes: in the case of arbitration, the "arbiter" decides the outcome, while mediation uses a neutral third party to help the parties come to a compromise.

In the case of class action lawsuits, a large group of people collectively brings a claim to court. These cases typically result from a certain business or product that has affected numerous people uniformly, and so they often fall under consumer rights law.

A very important step toward your legal success is finding an appropriate lawyer for the case. For instance, intellectual property law deals with multiple issues related to the creative process, and you'll want to get specific help for your specific situation. If your issue involves a patent instead of a copyright, a patent lawyer who has experience with cases similar to yours is the best legal representation you can get. Make sure you determine what kind of case you have before you hire legal help—a trusted friend's attorney may be a good lawyer, but finding the right legal help for your case will require some research and comparison.

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