Civil Litigation

The concept of civil litigation started in England in the late 1700’s. During that period of time there was a need to separate crimes against the state and injuries that were caused to individual families or persons. Civil litigation can be loosely defined as a legal process in which criminal charges and penalties are not at issue.  The attorney is his client’s advocate, obligated to fight for him to achieve the best possible outcome on the client’s behalf. Lawyers specializing in this field must be willing to think, investigate, argue and have a great knowledge of all the Rules of Civil Procedure and the Rules of Evidence.


Civil litigation encompasses a broad array of legal matters but generally is a dispute between one or more persons or parties that involves damages, injunctive relief, and/or specific performance. Civil litigation can be divided into several stages: onset with filings/pleadings, discovery, pre-trial negotiations and/or mediation, settlement, trial, and the appellate process.


Our team is experienced in all phases of the civil litigation process, whether it is the intricate and detailed discovery process, the negotiation phase, or the trial. We pride ourselves in not only achieving our client’s objective but also meeting our clients’ needs on the path to get there.


A lawyer who specializes in civil litigation is known as a “litigator” or a “trial lawyer.” He represents clients across a wide spectrum of associated proceedings, including pretrial hearings and depositions, as well as arbitration or mediation before administrative agencies or in courtrooms.


Arbitration and mediation are processes that attempt to guide the parties toward settlement without the time and expense of going to court. Mediation is a more common practice than arbitration in Tennessee.

Types of Civil Litigation

Civil litigation encompasses a broad range of disputes, and litigators generally specialize in one or two specific practice areas. Several common areas include:

  • Product liability lawsuits
  • Personal Injury claims
  • Construction liability lawsuits
  • Medical malpractice claims
  • Real estate lawsuits
  • Workers’ compensation claims
  • Will Contests
  • Divorce and Custody lawsuits

The Life Cycle of a Civil Litigation Case in Tennessee

Civil litigation can be divided into several stages, including investigation, pleadings, discovery, pretrial proceedings, potential settlement or trial, and even appeal. Discovery is typically the longest and most labor-intensive stage of a case. Unlike the way they’re often portrayed on television, civil attorneys spend comparatively little time in the trial.  It is the trial preparation that is the key to success whether you have been sued by someone or if you are the one that filed the lawsuit against the other party or business.

Depositions and interrogatories involve questions posed under penalty of perjury to the parties in a lawsuit.  Deposition questions are asked in the presence of the parties and their lawyers while being sworn under oath by a licensed court reporter. Interrogatories are written questions.


Not every lawsuit passes through each stage — in fact, most don’t. The majority of lawsuits are settled by agreement of the parties.   At Spencer Jones Attorneys, PLC we understand that a good settlement can only be achieved through hard work, good client communication and a “prepare for trial” mentality.


When a case does go all the way to trial, the entire process can take anywhere from a few months to several years.  Our law firm has represented litigants in civil litigation cases for the past 25 years.   We have had cases that have lasted a couple of weeks and cases that were involved in the Tennessee court system for more than 5 years.  We did not give up and we did our best to inspire out clients to stick with the legal process so that justice can prevail.


Civil cases are accepted by Nathan Spencer and Justin Jones on either a contingency fee or on an hourly fee in which a retainer is required.    A contingency fee is when a lawyer accepts a case based on taking a fee based on the percentage of the settlement amount.   Typically a lawyer will charge 1/3 for a personal injury case and 20% fee for workers compensation cases.    To discuss these fees please call (731) 772-3322 and ask to speak with either Nathan Spencer or Justin Jones or the paralegal assigned to your case.