Trials, Arbitrations, and Appeals
The attorneys at The Law Firm of William Babich, LLC, are experienced with trials, arbitrations, and appeals.
What is a trial?
A civil trial is the culmination of months, sometimes years, of preparation and work. Before a trial can occur, a lawsuit must be commenced in the appropriate Court by filing a ‘Complaint’ and ‘Summons’ with the Court and having these documents personally served on the defendant. Then, a trial is generally scheduled for at least one year away, in order to give the parties and their attorneys adequate time to do, at a minimum, the following:
- Disclosures (exchange of information and records in the parties’ possession);
- Discovery (gathering and exchange of additional information and records, requesting written answers from another party or witness, requesting oral answers from another party or witness at a scheduled deposition (recorded conversation under oath), inspecting property or things);
- Consult with expert witnesses;
- Consult with other witnesses;
- Generate and exchange Affidavits and/or expert reports;
- File motions, briefs, and other pleadings concerning various case management or trial management issues;
- Conduct focus groups (mini mock-trials in order to evaluate and test issues for trial);
- Have the parties attend mediation or settlement conference to explore settlement options; and
- Prepare evidence and witnesses for trial.
See also "Process of a Lawsuit" section on this website.
The purpose of a trial is to present your case to a judge or jury for final resolution when negotiations between the parties have failed to result in a successful compromise or settlement. Statistically, only a very small minority of cases ever get to trial. Most of the cases handled by The Law Firm of William Babich, LLC, are settled either before a lawsuit is filed or before the scheduled trial date.
At The Law Firm of William Babich, LLC, we believe that if you prepare a case in the early stages as if it were going to trial, there is a much greater likelihood that the at-fault party will want to settle your claim rather than proceed to trial. Generally, when cases are not properly prepared or investigated in the beginning, an early settlement becomes much more difficult and unlikely. The attorneys at The Law Firm of William Babich, LLC, will start preparing your case for trial from the beginning in order to give you the best chance of an early and satisfactory settlement. However, if we cannot negotiate a just and fair settlement between you and the at-fault party, we are not afraid to seek justice in the courtroom instead.
What is arbitration?
Arbitration is often a cheaper and quicker alternative to a jury trial. Whereas a trial occurs in a formal courtroom, an arbitration can occur in a private conference room or office. Whereas a civil trial is presented before a judge and generally a six member jury panel, an arbitration is generally presented to a panel of three arbitrators, who are most often attorneys or retired judges. In a jury trial, the jury renders a ‘verdict’ on your case and the judge takes on the role of a moderator; making sure that all the laws of evidence and procedure are followed by the attorneys. In arbitration, the panel of arbitrators acts as both judge and jury and renders a ‘final decision’ in your case. With few exceptions (see below), both the jury’s and arbitrators’ decisions are final and binding on you.
What is an appeal?
When there are certain irregularities, misconduct, or errors in law that occur during trial or litigation, you may have a right to have your case reviewed by an appellate court. An appellate court will then decide whether some irregularity, misconduct, or error occurred that prevented you from having a fair trial or outcome in your case. The rules of procedure in appellate courts differ significantly from the rules in trial courts, and often vary between the appellate courts themselves. It is important to hire an attorney who is familiar with the varying rules so that your case is not rejected, delayed, or denied, for procedural reasons that could have been avoided.
Call The Law Firm of William Babich, LLC, today for a free consultation. We know that choosing the right attorney is an important decision and that is why we will take the time to discuss your case and answer any question about trials, arbitration, or appeals.