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Ashworth College Blog

What is Civil Litigation?

Written by Nicole Krempasky on Wednesday, 06 July 2022. Posted in Career

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If you’re looking for a law career, you might initially feel overwhelmed with how many types of jobs there are, as well as the many different types of law practiced in the United States. One of the most common is civil litigation. Keep reading to learn more about this interesting, and common, field, and how to get your civil litigation career started.

What does a civil litigator do?

Before you can understand what a civil litigator does, you’ll need to know what, exactly, civil litigation is. While many of us are familiar with criminal suits, civil litigations handle a completely different area of law.

Civil litigation is any type of legal dispute where the parties are looking to receive money for damages. The most common types of these lawsuits can include product and construction liability, medical malpractice, personal injury, divorce, landlord/tenant and real estate disputes, and workers’ compensation claims, to name a few.

Civil litigators, in turn, are the lawyers and legal teams that help to challenge or defend these suits, depending on the party for whom they work. These attorneys are often referred to as trial lawyers and they usually specialize in a specific type of law, such as medical practice or workers’ compensation, though some do practice more than one specialty.

Regardless of what their specialty is, though, their day-to-day duties are pretty similar. They must interview clients, draft legal documents like complaints, claims, and motions, and participate in depositions and court proceedings like trials. Civil litigators may work towards settling cases instead of waiting for a decision from a judge or jury.

Does a civil litigator need a law degree?

In order to practice law as an attorney, you must have a law license. To obtain one, you will need a bachelor’s degree and a graduate degree, specifically a juris doctor, from law school. Then, you will need to pass the bar exam in the state in which you want to practice to obtain your law license.

However, you can still work in civil litigation without a law degree. Almost all law firms, regardless of the size, rely on support staff which could include legal assistants, legal secretaries, and paralegals. These legal careers do require some degree of education, but not a law degree. Legal secretaries, for instance, research cases, prepare legal documents including subpoenas, motions, complaints and responses, and perform clerical duties. They may have earned a degree as a paralegal and are just starting out, or they may also have an associate degree in General Studies. Paralegals perform similar duties but take a more hands-on approach to preparing cases and attorneys for trials.

What education does a civil litigator need?

Ashworth College has a variety of legal studies program options to help get your career in civil litigation started. Some options include:

  1. Civil Litigation Career Certificate. With a Civil Litigation Career Certification, you’ll study the differences between civil and criminal law, the structure of federal and state courts, the rules for a civil lawsuit, the role of a paralegal, and ethics. This a great option for both those just starting out and looking for a job with a small law firm, or anyone who may already have started a legal career but is looking to specialize in this specific type of law.
  2. Paralegal Studies Associate Degree. If you’re ready to start your civil litigation career as a legal secretary or paralegal, earning an associate degree is a good starting point. You’ll study the courses needed like legal research and writing, law office management, and criminal law and procedures, but you’ll also work on fundamental skills like English composition, math, and public speaking to help prepare you for working directly with clients, other attorneys, and judges’ offices. If you’re already a paralegal or legal secretary looking to refresh your skills or give your resume a boost, there are more condensed paralegal course options like a Paralegal Career Diploma or Paralegal Undergraduate Certificate.

What does a civil litigator make?

A career in the legal field can be highly rewarding. Because legal professionals are needed everywhere, you may look forward to job security, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting jobs across all legal fields growing 10 percent by 2031. In addition, the average salary for paralegals and legal assistants in 2021 was $56,230, creating a great return on investment once your civil litigation career is underway.

Secure your future with Ashworth

If you’re ready for an exciting legal career, Ashworth College can help you get on the path towards success. All courses are online and self-paced with affordable tuition, so you can keep your priorities in order. Call an Admissions Advisor at or enroll online to get started today.

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