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Abstract

We all know that litigations that do not settle eventually wind up in court, but how do cases get there? On TV, it often seems that one minute a client has walked into a lawyer’s office to discuss a new potential case, and then seemingly the next day the case has gone to trial. What these shows often leave out is the long process that takes place between that first meeting in the lawyer’s office and the eventual plaintiff’s day in court. (Those shows also usually leave out the fact that most cases settle during this long pre-trial process and never result in a trial at all!) This article will discuss some of the procedural aspects that sometimes do not get talked about on TV: the steps that lawyers must take to either commence a lawsuit and advance it towards an eventual trial date (if they are working for the plaintiff) or defend it and attempt to get it dismissed before trial (if they are working for the defendant).

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