Though it is preferable to resolve matters outside of court, there are some disputes between parties that can only be resolved by using the force of law. Attorneys at Dickson Frohlich have years of experience in all areas of civil litigation and are considered some of the most aggressive and innovative in their field. The following is a brief description of the litigation process:

Litigation Law

Litigation generally refers to the process by which a controversy is disputed before the court. The legal process is designed to resolve issues between parties by using the force of the state through its judicial system. As you can imagine, the procedures and precedents that have developed over decades of lawsuits has created an intricate mechanism which is very difficult for parties on their own to process. There are essentially three basic phases in litigation:

Complaint Phase:

The first step in commencing a lawsuit is for a complaint and summons to be drafted and properly served on an opponent. The people damaged and seeking redress through the courts are considered “plaintiffs”. Those who are alleged to have caused the damage and who are subject to the lawsuit, are called “defendants”. A complaint is a relatively small document which briefly describes the dispute at issue, and what the plaintiff is seeking for relief.

Discovery Phase:

After commencing the suit, parties begin research and investigation as to their claims and defenses. This is called “discovery”, as these activities are meant to uncover information which bolsters their relative legal positions. This phase comprises the bulk of the litigation, as it also covers the time in which many attorneys bring dispositive motions, such as summary judgments. As one would expect, discovery often produces a clearer picture of the strength of a party’s legal position and can often push him towards settlement. It is difficult to compress all the procedural maneuvers arising during this phase, however, the most common forms of discovery are the following: (1) interrogatories – straightforward questions posed to the opponent, requiring a direct, written answer; (2) requests for production – requests to present, or allow access to, documents relevant to the lawsuit; (3) requests for admission – questions asserted which require either an admission or denial from the responding party; (4) depositions – similar to testimony at trial, depositions allow attorneys to directly question relevant witnesses or parties to the litigation. Their recollections are recorded by a court reporter, and can be used at trial as evidence. Though there are other aspects to discovery, these four are the most commonly used in litigation.

Trial Phase:

If the case has not been discharged through a settlement or dispositive motion, the matter is put to trial where a trier of fact (jury or judge) will make the final decision. The final holding will comprise a finding of facts and a legal pronouncement regarding the trier of fact’s interpretation of the law.

Call Now For A FREE 15-minute Consultation

our firm

Thomas L. Dickson

Tom is an experienced litigator and the founding partner of the Dickson Frohlich. For over 30 years, he’s helped clients prevail in their real estate, construction, and business law matters.

attorney profile

Robert P. Dickson

The core of Rob’s legal practice is civil litigation, with an emphasis on construction, real estate, and business law. He represents a wide range of clients, from large construction companies to individual homeowners.

attorney profile

Mark S. Johnson

Mark’s legal practice focuses on civil litigation, real estate law, business law and family law. He works tirelessly to help his clients achieve the outcome they are looking for.

attorney profile

Daniel J. Frohlich

Dan’s legal practice focuses on civil litigation, real estate law, business law and probate law. He has more than 10 years of experience as an attorney serving clients throughout Western Washington.

attorney profile

Chris Lindemeier

As an associate at Dickson Frohlich, Chris practices in a wide range of areas, including business law, real estate law, civil litigation, and intellectual property law.

attorney profile

Rebecca Corcoran

As an associate at Dickson Frohlich, Rebecca is active in the firm’s business law department. She can help with entity formation, intellectual property, as well as any necessary litigation involving your business’s needs

attorney profile

Daniel Pizarro

As an associate at Dickson Frohlich, Daniel is active in the firm’s civil litigation department. His practice is mainly centered around real estate law, landlord-tenant law, construction law, and probate law.

attorney profile

Alexander Wisbey

Alexander Wisbey comes to the firm with 5 years of experience as a litigator and trial attorney. He has first chaired several jury trials and has extensive experience handling arbitrations, mediations, depositions, and settlements.

attorney profile

George Knight

George is an honors graduate of Emory University School of Law. While there, George served on the Emory Law Journal as an Articles Editor.

attorney profile

Reed Speir

Born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, Reed Speir has lived in the Tacoma area since 1994. Reed earned his law degree from Seattle University School of Law.

attorney profile


I highly recommend Dickson Frohlich and if I ever need a lawyer again they will be my first call.

- Jeremy H.

I can’t even tell you how much I appreciate this firm! These guys helped me through one of the most challenging legal situations I’ve faced in my life. Their skill and expertise literally saved my business. I’ve dealt with other counsel in the past but the Dickson firm was by far the most competent and tactful counsel I’ve ever received. I would recommend this group to anyone!

- Keith D.

It’s a pleasure to work with the guys at Dickson Frohlich. One of the first things that stood out to me was how down to earth and friendly everyone at the firm is. I would definitely recommend them.

- Den L.