trial process/advocacy

American Civil Liberties Union

Definition

A national organization that engages in litigation, legislative lobbying, and educational outreach in order to preserve and further individual rights and liberties that are guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States. Among the constitutional rights that the ACLU promotes are First Amendment, equal protection, due process, and privacy rights.

American Civil Liberties Union website:

http://www.aclu.org/

Keywords: 

Multidistrict Litigation

A federal case management procedure in which a federal panel transfers several (or many) complex civil cases involving one or more common questions of fact to one federal district court (called the MDL court). The MDL court coordinates and oversees pretrial proceedings, signs off on settlement of some cases, and dismisses others. All remaining cases are sent back to the original court of filing for trial. MDL works well when plaintiffs nationwide file lawsuits against the same defendants, alleging the same issues. Types of litigation that lend themselves to MDL include cases against pharmaceutical drug companies, lawsuits based on an airplane crash, securities fraud cases, and some employment cases.

Cumis Counsel

An attorney employed by a defendant in a lawsuit when there is an insurance policy supposedly covering the claim, but there is a conflict of interest between the insurance company and the insured defendant. Such a conflict might arise if the insurance company is denying full or partial coverage. In California, the defendant can demand that the insurance company pay the attorney fees of a selected attorney rather than use an insurance company lawyer. The term is derived from the name of a 1984 California case.

success billing

A method for lawyers to bill clients that is based on how the lawyer solves the client's problem, instead of the number of hours the lawyer spends working on it. For example, if a lawyer represents a company that's being sued, they might agree that the client will pay a certain fee if the lawyer settles the case for an amount that the client's insurance policy will cover.

self-serving

Refers to a statement or answer to a question that serves no purpose and provides no evidence, but only argues or reinforces the legal position of a particular party in a lawsuit. An example would be a lawyer asking his own client: "Are you the sort of person who would never do anything dishonest?" A judge may disallow this kind of question unless there is some evidentiary value.

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