Civil Litigation

The civil litigation attorneys at the Boise law offices of Jones & Swartz PLLC practice exclusively in the civil areas of law.  As a civil litigation business in Idaho, our clients can count on us to take their case all the way to trial, if necessary. Not all civil law firms in Idaho are willing or able to do this, and instead encourage their clients to settle prior to trial, or hand the case over to a different litigation firm for trial. Because we can take each case “all the way,” each client of Jones & Swartz PLLC can count on their case being managed effectively and respectfully from beginning to end. 

Jones & Swartz’ attorneys are located in Boise, but are experts in civil litigation anywhere in Idaho.  Our law firm does litigation and does it right; trying and litigating civil lawsuits for both plaintiffs and defendants. We do not do transactional work such as drafting and putting together real estate deals, handling securities offerings, or preparing pension plans.  But we have litigated disputes involving real estate deals, securities, ERISA violations, and a wide variety of other civil legal disputes.

All we do is civil litigation.  We are THE litigation company in Idaho.  Our clients range from individuals to international institutions. Be aware though that all civil legal claims are subject to strict time limitations. Do not let time run out on resolving your civil legal problem, contact us today for a FREE CONSULTATION

The phrase "Civil Litigation" includes several types of legal problems. 

Two general types of law exist in today's American legal system:  civil law and criminal law.  Civil litigation covers a very broad spectrum of specific legal areas, including breach of contract disputes, complex commercial litigation, professional negligence and malpractice, personal injury, family law matters, violations of civil rights, etc.  And, within each area of law are sub-areas that may or may not apply to a client’s particular legal problem.

What is Civil Litigation?

Civil litigation is a general term used to describe the process of pursuing (or “prosecuting”) and defending disputes in the judicial system.  The phases of litigation and how long litigation takes depends, in part, on the type of dispute at issue, the client’s goals, and case strategy.

The Phases and Length of Civil Litigation.

Civil litigation generally begins with the filing of a lawsuit.  That party is called the plaintiff.  The party being sued is called the defendant.  A defendant served with a lawsuit has a specific number of days to file an answer and respond to the allegations in the lawsuit.  In some cases, a defendant may file a claim against a plaintiff.  That is called a counterclaim.  A defendant may also bring a party into the lawsuit that the plaintiff did not originally name.

After the lawsuit is filed and the complaint served on the defendant, the case progresses through a series of phases.  Initially, the parties usually send each other written questions and requests for copies of documents.  The parties then usually hold depositions where parties and witnesses answer questions under oath and in front of a court reporter.  The exchange of written questions and the taking of depositions is referred to as the “discovery” phase of litigation.  Discovery is usually most active during the first six months of litigation, but the exchange of information and depositions can take place right up to the time set for trial, which is normally at least a year or more from the filing of a lawsuit.

Civil litigation also typically involves the filing of, and defending against, various motions before the court. This is called “motion practice”.  Most motion practice usually occurs after initial discovery, but can occur before any discovery is done. The general purpose of motion practice is to limit or expand the scope of the case and the issues that will ultimately be presented to the judge or jury at trial.

Following discovery and motion practice is the trial.  Cases can be tried to a judge or to a jury.  The length of trial generally depends on the complexity of the case and the number of witnesses.  Both the plaintiff and the defendant are allowed to put on their respective side of the case before the judge or jury decides the outcome of the case.

Sometimes, all or part of a judge’s or the jury’s decision can be appealed to a higher court.  On appeal, the decision being appealed can be upheld, modified, or overturned.  If modified or overturned, the case may be sent back to the original judge for a new trial.

Alternatives for Dispute Resolution During Civil Litigation.

In civil litigation, the parties place the fate of their dispute in the hands of the judicial system through a judge or jury.  The outcome is not always consistent with a client’s definition of justice.  Because of this risk, and because of the high costs of most civil litigation cases, it can make sense for the parties to resolve their dispute without going all the way to trial.  If the parties agree to do so, they can work to resolve their dispute by informal means such as settlement negotiations or mediation.  This process is called alternative dispute resolution or “ADR”. 

​While alternative dispute resolution is normally voluntary, it can be an effective way to end a dispute at a certain time and for a certain amount of money without the uncertainty inherent in taking a case to trial.  Parties can engage in ADR at most any time including:  before filing a lawsuit, after filing the lawsuit but before trial, or any time during trial before the judge or jury reaches its verdict, or following trial but before the appeal process is complete.  Additionally, judges often order the parties to try ADR before proceeding to trial. 

As much as the civil litigation attorneys at Jones & Swartz PLLC enjoy trying cases to judges and juries, alternative dispute resolution makes a lot of sense.  We typically recommend it and always assist our clients in making the most of any settlement conference. The decision of whether or not to settle their civil lawsuit is always the client’s decision. And, the attorneys at Jones & Swartz will make sure that you fully understand the strengths and weaknesses of your case so that you do not settle for less than the value of your case.  

​Do not delay! Contact the civil litigation attorneys at Jones & Swartz PLLC today for a FREE CONSULTATION

Our attorneys who focus on this particular area of law