Law Firm

Necessary Terms


A plaintiff is a person who brings a case against another in the court of law.


The Defendant is the one who is accused in the court of law. They are accused by the Plaintiff, making the two "enemies".


A complaint is a formal statement that describes the lawsuit, and names both the Plaintiff and the Defendant. It is normally filed through a Lawyer with the proper court. The person who send the Complaint is typically the Plaintiff. Complaints lead to Summons at court in front of the judge.


After someone has filed a complaint, the judge will order the defendant to appear at court at a certain date or time. Witnesses can be summoned as well.


Pleadings are made in response to accusations. Defendants respond to charges, by having their attorney answer to the complaint. The Pleading is both the complaint and the answer together.

Pretrial Conference

A Pretrial conference is when the Judge meets with both the defendant and the plaintiff if he/she thinks that the issue will go to court, in order to give both sides the time to prepare for the trial. However, most are settled out of court.


To mediate is to intervene between two people in a dispute in order to reach some sort of agreement or reconciliation.


Arbitration is the settling of differences, or determining of a dispute between two parties. This is done by the Arbitrator.


A trial is a court hearing of a case between a Plaintiff and a Defendant. The judge will typically examine the evidence provided by both sides to determine whether the Defendant is innocent, or guilty.

Preponderance of evidence

The preponderance of evidence is the larger portion of the evidence that is required in a civil lawsuit. The Judge or jury then decide in favor of either the defender or the plaintiff. The preponderance of evidence is more about the probability and accuracy of the evidence at hand, rather than the amount that is given.


The verdict is the ultimate decision that is agreed on by the jury. The verdict can either be Guilty, or not guilty.


An appeal is when a decision is made in a smaller court, and an application is made to a higher court in order to get a reversal on the decision made in the lower court.