When disputes get to the unfortunate point of requiring or developing into litigation, individuals and companies need experienced litigation attorneys to serve as their advocates, whether in court, arbitration or settlement negotiations. For people who are not lawyers, however, litigation can be daunting, unnerving, stressful, time-consuming and expensive.
With the assistance of one of our seasoned litigators, our clients can better understand, manage and resolve the elevated conflict intrinsic in any litigation. We strive to boost our clients’ level of confidence and achieve genuine and tangible results that are to their benefit and satisfaction.
Our litigation practice involves representing both plaintiffs and claimants (those parties who formally commence cases) and defendants and respondents (those parties who have been sued and find themselves in the position of having to defend themselves). The 50/50 balance that our firm often maintains in the clients whom we represent helps us to better understand both sides of conflicts and keep the right perspective in litigation.
Plaintiffs in litigation generally must carry the burden of proof. To win, they must present enough evidence to convince the judge that they deserve judicial relief. Our litigation attorneys understand the grave responsibility it is to recommend that a lawsuit by filed and pursued, and then to follow it through to the end. We only commence litigation and assert claims for which we have identified proper factual and legal bases.
Defendants in litigation are generally involuntarily placed in lawsuits which they often believe are unjustified. We have many clients who have never been sued before. Our goal in defending against legal claims is to get them dismissed as quickly as possible or adjudicated in a manner where our clients’ positions are upheld. Sometimes this also includes pursuing counterclaims.
Litigation attorneys cannot guarantee results. Disputes generally involve different fact patterns, witnesses with varying degrees of recollection, acumen and veracity, unresolved legal issues and judges and arbitrators who may see and hear the evidence differently. In addition, evidentiary rules may preclude the admission of otherwise valuable information or documents from serving as evidence in a case.
One of our primary tasks in any litigation is to help our clients gain a knowledgeable understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of their positions and set reasonable expectations accordingly. Litigation attorneys should neither undersell their clients’ claims and defenses nor oversell what they realistically should expect to achieve from the judicial process.
Another primary task in litigation is to persuade the opposing sides and their attorneys of the strengths of our clients’ positions and the weaknesses in their clients’ positions. While not all opposing parties or attorneys are open-minded, we regularly and genuinely try to convince the other side of our position rather than have our clients be embroiled in protracted litigation.
Our American legal system is set up to resolve conflict in a civil, just and measured manner. While it is not perfect and can be expensive, it is one of the best in the world to resolve conflict in a civil manner and achieve results that are just and prompt.
With respect to recovering attorney’s fees and costs, Washington courts generally apply the American Rule. Prevailing parties in cases generally cannot recover their litigation expenses unless a contractual provision or statute authorizes such an award. Pursuant to such provisions and statutes, the judge or arbitrator may or may not have discretion to award fees and costs.
Effective counsel in litigation must be able to simultaneously see the big picture and understand minute details. Our litigation attorneys focus on what is important and will lead to a successful outcome.
Our litigation attorneys also appreciate the value of efficiency in handling litigation. We keep in mind the “law of diminishing returns” wherein at some point the amount of effort and money spend pursuing a position does not justify the potential benefits to our clients.
In litigation, our trial attorneys will prepare and present the best legal arguments on your behalf. The steps that we take in litigation often include consistent, informative and beneficial client communications, investigations, witness interviews, formal discovery (interrogatories, document requests and requests for admissions), depositions, careful document review and analysis, communications with opposing counsel, pursuing and opposing motions, preparing for trial and arbitration hearings and representing clients at trials and arbitrations.
In litigation, our clients periodically face parties who are unreasonable, greedy, manipulative, recalcitrant, illogical, abusive and vindictive. While we treat everyone with professionalism and respect, we will rigorously and unabashedly press forward on our clients’ behalf for just results, sometimes under very difficult circumstances.
In most litigation, the courts require parties to engage in some form of alternative dispute resolution. Such settlement discussions often occur in offsite mediations using the professional services of private mediators, many of whom previously served as judges. Mediation is a great method by which to confidentially and frankly discuss the strengths and weaknesses of a client’s position with an impartial mediator in an attempt to settle the conflict short of going to trial.
Our litigation attorneys have successfully represented clients throughout Western Washington and in different parts of Central and Eastern Washington. These have included cases in the county superior courts, the courts of appeal and the state supreme court as well as in private arbitrations.
We have extensive litigation experience in many different civil (as opposed to criminal) disputes. These include a wide range of conflicts involving real estate, businesses, estates, probates, trusts, commercial activities and collections. We generally do not handle family law disputes or bankruptcies.