The term "litigation specialist" is used to describe two different types of legal professionals. One is a litigation attorney, a lawyer who specializes in practicing in court; in areas like England, a litigation specialist may be known as a barrister. The other is a legal support professional who is not admitted before the bar, but does provide assistance with the preparation and prosecution of cases.
Once attorneys are qualified to practice law, they usually choose to focus their practices on a specific area and type of law. Some lawyers choose to go into litigation. Litigation involves taking cases intended for court and either bringing them to court or working out a settlement with an opponent. Litigation specialists have extensive experience in court and tend to accept certain types of cases, such as personal injury cases, antitrust cases, and so forth. Working with a litigation specialist can assure a better outcome than working with a general attorney or an attorney who splits his or her time between chambers and court.
In terms of a non-lawyer, a litigation specialist is a member of the support team. These legal professionals usually have paralegal and investigation experience. They help to collect evidence, review case information, prepare documents, and write up opinions. They can also handle tasks like filing and copying that are related to the case. Attorneys rely on litigation specialists to do groundwork that will help them try a case more successfully.
Some litigation specialists work for law firms as part of the staff. Others may work for companies that often find themselves involved in litigation, such as insurance companies. Litigation specialists for individual companies are usually intimately acquainted with the company and the industry so that they can offer legal support that is highly relevant to the case. Those with backgrounds in investigation may also be involved in field work to collect information that will be used in court.
Litigation specialists of this nature can sometimes work out the terms of a settlement, under supervision of a lawyer, allowing their employers to settle a case out of court. This is usually a task entrusted only to people with extensive experience and familiarity with the law. Professional organizations offer certification to litigation specialists who are interested in obtaining professional qualifications. Certification can make someone more employable and may result in better wages and benefits on the job, especially if the litigation specialist also has extensive experience.