Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Aug 5, 2012

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

No. Disputes are an integral part of human history throughout the ages. In medieval times disputes were sometimes resolved by such methods as a physical “trial by battle” in which the parties (or their designees) would actually engage in physical combat; the winner of the battle would have his or her way.

Now that we are more civilized, parties having a dispute they can not resolve among themselves, often engage attorneys to do legal combat in court, which generally avoids bloodshed. Instead of engaging in physical combat, the lawyers prepare the facts supporting their client’s demands, send papers to the other side and present the facts at a “trial” to the decision maker, such as a judge, jury or arbitrator, for decision.

We use the term litigation to refer to the entire range of steps that are involved before, during and after an actual “trial”. Criminal matters are also considered “litigation”, and many attorneys who practice litigation handle both civil and criminal cases, as well as arbitration, mediation and handle administrative trials and hearings. However this section of Free Advice has as its focus disputes between private parties, between businesses between themselves, and between individuals and businesses and the government, known as civil matters