At the close of discovery, the parties may either pick a jury and then have a trial by jury or the case may proceed as a bench trial. A bench trial is only heard by the judge if the parties waive a jury trial or if the right to a jury trial is not guaranteed for their particular claim (such as those under equity in the U.S.) or for any lawsuits within their jurisdiction.

Support legal teams with “friend-of-the-court” briefs: Amicus briefs (“friend-of-the-court” briefs) can be filed by groups that seek to expand on legal teams’ arguments or bring an additional perspective to the conversation. During marriage legal cases, state and national partners often came together to line up robust amici briefs, and as marriage work shifted overwhelmingly to the courts in 2014, a significant amount of work involved enlisting signers. Hand-in-hand with our legal advocacy organizations Freedom to Marry worked to enlist signers who could demonstrate most powerfully that America was ready for marriage nationwide.  This included Republican officials, faith leaders, businesses, first responders, and mayors. During these court cases, we generated media and public discussion by highlighting the numbers and prominence of signers on amicus briefs, and putting forward their business/public health/faith, etc., case for ending marriage discrimination. 
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At trial, each person presents witnesses and the evidence collected is recorded. After this occurs, the judge or jury renders their decision. Generally speaking, the plaintiff has the burden of proof in making his claims, however, the defendant may have the burden of proof on other issues, such as affirmative defenses. The attorneys are held responsible in devising a trial strategy that ensures they meet the necessary elements of their case or (when the opposing party has the burden of proof) to ensure the opponent will not be able to meet his or her burden.

Tell the story behind the litigation: At the heart of litigation efforts are stories of injustice to real people.  Our campaigns have sought to use the emotional resonance of the injustice of real stories as crucial ways to make our case and grow support.  Edie Windsor in the DOMA case was a compelling figure – and with a smart media strategy behind her, her story became a face of the injustice of DOMA and the need to dismantle it once and for all.   While the media loves covering the ins and outs of the court process and politics, what moves hearts and minds are people’s actual stories. It’s certainly wise to elevate the story that’s being discussed in the litigation.  It’s also wise to identify and amplify similar stories of injustice in the state and across the country similar to the story being considered in court.   
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Rules of criminal or civil procedure govern the conduct of a lawsuit in the common law adversarial system of dispute resolution. Procedural rules are constrained and informed by separate statutory laws, case laws, and constitutional provisions that define the rights of the parties to a lawsuit (see especially due process), though the rules generally reflect this legal context on their face. The details of the procedure differ greatly from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, and often from court to court even within the same jurisdiction. These rules of the particular procedures are very important for litigants to know, because the litigants are the ones who dictate the timing and progression of the lawsuit. Litigants are responsible to obtain the suited result and the timing of reaching this result. Failure to comply with the procedural rules may result in serious limitations that can affect the ability of one to present claims or defenses at any subsequent trial, or even promote the dismissal of the lawsuit altogether.
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