Wierse Law Firm

Vocabulary for New Clients


Plaintiff - the person or party filing the lawsuit

Defendant - the individual or group being charged/sued with a crime

Complaint - a formal notice that a lawsuit is being brought

Summons - an order to appear in person at a given place and time

Pleadings - the complaint and the answer combined in a civil case

Pretrial Conference - a meeting called by a judge between both parties in a civil case to help clarify differences between the two sides

Mediation - situation in which a third party helps the defendant and plaintiff reach an agreement

Arbitration - when a third party listens to the plaintiff and defendant, reviews the case and makes a final binding decision for both parties

Trial - a formal examination of evidence before a judge, and typically before a jury, in order to decide guilt in a case of criminal or civil proceedings

Preponderance of evidence - the idea that the weight of the plaintiff's evidence in a civil trial clearly points to the defendant being at fault

Verdict - decision in a case made by a judge or jury

Appeal - if the losing party believes something went wrong in the case, they can ask for review from a higher court

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