What is Litigation Consulting?
Litigation consulting is a service attorneys use when they are working on a large or complicated case. Lawyers are experts on practicing law, but their expertise doesn't extend to technical issues. It makes sense for them to hire someone who can help them manage the large number of documents that these kinds of cases involve. A consultant can also help the attorney find people who can act as expert witnesses in the cases they are working on.
Hiring an expert in the field of litigation consulting helps the lawyer to understand which documents hold the key to winning their court case. In a large case, the documents that need to be reviewed and organize may be numerous enough that they need to be stored in several boxes. If the attorney or his or her staff had to go through all of them to find the ones that are relevant to the case, it would be a very time-consuming exercise.
Another reason why turning to an outside expert for litigation consulting needs is that a consultant may charge a lower hourly rate than a licensed attorney. A trained expert can review the documents needed for a legal case and organize them in a systematic fashion quicker than an attorney would be able to. Since the work progresses faster, the client incurs less expense for this part of the case. It also means that the attorney can focus his or her attention on practicing law instead of document review.
Once the litigation consulting firm has done its work, then a representative can meet with the attorney and the client to go over their findings. The meeting can focus on evaluating the merits of the case, working out a strategy to deal with the technical details, and trial preparation as appropriate. The consultant's report may give the attorney some leverage in settlement discussions as well.
If the attorney needs an expert witness to testify at trial, the consultant can help to locate a person who has the necessary credentials. For complicated cases, multiple experts may be needed to provide information and testify in their area of expertise. This is one of the services that a litigation consulting professional provides.
Lawyers aren't the only people who can contact a litigation consulting firm for help. Some of them will work with lay people to help them determine whether litigation is the right solution in a situation. They may have lawyers on staff who can act for the client or make a referral to an experienced litigation attorney.
I wonder if some litigation consultants are former paralegals? It seems like it would be a natural progression for a paralegal. After all paralegals often help their attorney's prepare for cases by doing legal research and document review. So a paralegal would probably have the necessary experience and expertise after a few years to do litigation support consulting.
This would probably be a great step for a paralegal, because you could open up your own business and probably get paid a lot more!
@JaneAir - Well, a litigation consultant isn't exactly a layperson. They are in the legal field and probably have a lot of experience in litigation. I see what you're saying though.
Honestly, I have a lot of respect for litigation support consultants after reading this article. It must take a really keen eye for detail to go over tons and tons of documents and decide what is relevant in regards to a case. I think you would really have to be an expert to be able to do that well.
I've never heard of litigation consulting before, but it seems like this job fulfills a need in litigation law. As the article said, litigation can be complicated and preparing for it can be time consuming. Most lawyers don't have time to read hundreds of documents before a big case, so it makes sense for them to hire someone to do it for them.
I think that use of litigation consultants makes sense, but I don't know that I would personally take legal advice from someone who isn't an attorney. If I'm thinking about bringing a case against someone, I want to hear advice from an actual lawyer, not a layperson.
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