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Top 10 Differences Between Transactional and Litigation Attorneys

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There are many different types of attorneys with different roles in the legal system. Some lawyers rarely set foot inside a courtroom, while others work primarily for large companies. The two main categories, no matter what the specialty, are transactional and litigation law. Read on for the top 10 differences between transactional and litigation attorneys.

  1. Transactional attorneys do not go to court: They work behind the scenes, writing contracts, doing real estate closings, and otherwise doing legal work that doesn’t involve going to court.
  2. Transactional attorneys do not handle lawsuits: Transactional attorneys aim to help their clients avoid litigation through the preparation of complete contracts and by giving advice on how to follow the law.
  3. Transactional attorneys most often work for companies or businesses: Most private individuals don’t require the services of transactional attorneys.
  4. Transactional attorneys often write contracts or work behind the scenes: They may consult with litigation attorneys about potential issues that could lead to lawsuits to try to write contracts that are complete enough to avoid any breach of contract lawsuits.
  5. Some companies have in-house transactional attorneys, but few have in-house litigators: If a company writes a lot of contracts or needs a lot of behind-the-scenes legal advice, they may hire an attorney to be on the staff of their company. Since most companies don’t regularly engage in litigation, their in-house counsel is generally not a litigator.
  6. Litigation attorneys represent clients who are suing or being sued: Litigation attorneys negotiate settlements or go to court when their clients are sued or need to sue someone.
  7. Litigation attorneys help settle cases: Most cases settle out of court. A litigation attorney will prepare a case and determine how strong the case is. This information will then be used to offer or consider a settlement.
  8. Litigation attorneys may spend time in court: If the case doesn’t settle, then it will go to court, and litigators will argue their case to a judge or jury.
  9. Litigation attorneys represent both individuals and corporate clients: Both companies and private individuals may be involved in lawsuits. For example, a personal injury attorney can litigate for an individual and can sue the person who caused the injury, or represent a client being sued for injury.
  10. Litigation and transactional attorneys may charge in different ways: A litigator may charge an hourly rate or a contingent fee, which means he or she is paid a percentage of a settlement or damages if he or she wins the case. However, he or she is not paid if he or she does not win. Transactional attorneys, on the other hand, charge an hourly fee for their services.

Law students choose whether to specialize in litigation or transactional law at some point during their education. Either way, they are highly trained to represent their clients to a high standard and help them make the best decisions for themselves or their businesses.

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