As you may know by now, some 95% of civil lawsuits never actually reach the point of trial–where the jury is present. On the other hand, most of these disputes nevertheless do end up in the courtroom before the judge at some point or other. Just what are the lawyers doing there, and what are they arguing about, if the jury isn’t there to hear them?
Chances are, the lawyers are there to argue what’s called a “motion.” A motion is a request for the judge to resolve some dispute, issue, or other question that the lawyers have. Motions can be about a wide range of topics and some can even end the entire lawsuit, such as a motion for summary judgment or a motion to dismiss the suit. Other motions are about the discovery documents that the parties are entitled to receive, scheduling issues for the case or possibly other procedural disputes.
In fact, there is really no limit to the issues that lawyers can bring before the court on a motion. Often, motions will have dramatic strategic consequences for your lawsuit, which is why they are often so hotly contested. Today, the bulk of civil courtroom time is spent arguing motions. Litigants must prepare extensively for these motions, and often must supply the supporting documents and other evidence in advance of the hearing.
Many motions will be accompanied with what’s known as a “brief” or a written legal argument. Lawyers will spend many hours researching and drafting these written arguments, which they submit both to the other party and to the judge for consideration. Many motions are won through these written arguments.
Motions get resolved by the judge with a document that is known as an “order.” An order is a mandate from the court, resolving the issue that the parties called into dispute with the motion. Sometimes motions might be partially granted, fully granted, or outright denied.
The skilled litigation attorneys at Asheville Legal know the right amount of time and effort to put into a particular motion, and we pick and choose the battles that are most meaningful and are likely to result in the most impactful orders for your case.