Prepare to defend court victories politically: Winning in court often isn’t enough, as opponents can mount attempts through legislatures or at the ballot to reverse good decisions and otherwise try to delegitimize the win. State constitutional amendments nullified court victories in Hawaii in the 1990s and stripped away the freedom to marry in California in 2008. Advocates should be completely prepared to fight back against efforts to overturn the rulings, and should also work post-victory to allay concerns, refute falsehoods, and solidify support so as to leverage the win. In Massachusetts, for example, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court victory on the freedom to marry was immediately followed by attempts in the legislature to pass a constitutional amendment repealing the freedom to marry. Without the strong leadership of MassEquality, supported by national groups and funders, and many months of public education work and organizing across the state, the nation’s first marriage state could have been a short-lived triumph. Similarly, in New Mexico in 2013, we prepared for an eventual state Supreme Court ruling on marriage by launching one of our joint campaigns, New Mexico United for Marriage, focused singularly on protecting the ruling, organizing in the legislature, and directing state-wide attention to the joy brought on by the freedom to marry.
One of the most common things criminal attorneys deal with are clients that have accepted a plea without understanding that plea and now they have changed their minds. Once a plea is accepted, it is extremely difficult to undo. A defense lawyer will be able to thoroughly explain the components of the plea and how it will impact you so that you can make an informed decision as to whether or not you want to accept the plea.
There are numerous motions that either party can file throughout the lawsuit to terminate it "prematurely"—before submission to the judge or jury for final consideration. These motions attempt to persuade the judge, through legal argument and sometimes accompanying evidence, that there is no reasonable way that the other party could legally win and therefore there is no sense in continuing with the trial. Motions for summary judgment, for example, can usually be brought before, after, or during the actual presentation of the case. Motions can also be brought after the close of a trial to undo a jury verdict contrary to law or against the weight of the evidence, or to convince the judge to change the decision or grant a new trial.
The decisions that the jury makes are not put into effect until the judge makes a judgment, which is the approval to have this trial information be filed in public records. In a civil case, the judge is allowed at this time to make changes to the verdict that the jury came up with by either adding on or reducing the punishment. In criminal cases the situation is a little different, because in this case the judge does not have the authority to change the jury decision.
Lawsuits can become additionally complicated as more parties become involved (see joinder). Within a "single" lawsuit, there can be any number of claims and defenses (all based on numerous laws) between any number of plaintiffs or defendants. Each of these participants can bring any number of cross claims and counterclaims against each other, and even bring additional parties into the suit on either side after it progresses. In reality however, courts typically have some power to sever claims and parties into separate actions if it is more efficient to do so. A court can do this if there is not a sufficient overlap of factual issues between the various associates, separating the issues into different lawsuits.