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Legal Action

___Your group has met and determined that taking this legal action is your last resort.

___You have retained the right attorney.

___You determine whether you have a case.

___You have decided whether a class action suit is appropriate, both for the situation and for achieving your goals.

___You have determined that your legal action is a ____criminal lawsuit or a ____civil lawsuit, by deciding what you want to get out of the lawsuit.

___You decide where to file suit, and whether to use the state or federal courts (if you have choices in any of these areas).

___If you want to file a criminal action, you have taken your evidence to the police, the FBI, or the prosecutor's office.

___If a criminal lawsuit you have worked with a state or federal prosecutor who has decided to pursue the lawsuit.

___If a civil suit, your group has decided to file suite against other parties (who may be either private or public entities).

___Your group has, with advice from your attorney, filed suit for money or other payment for injury caused by the defendant.

___In a civil case, you have decided to not pursue money or other payments, but instead seek an injunction, an apology, or some action on the part of the defendant.

___You do your research, so you can counter opposition arguments.

___You anticipate whatever the other side may throw at you.

___You make allowances for having this legal action in your life for a long period.

Why would you - and why wouldn't you - initiate legal action?

You initiate legal action because:

___The other party refuses to deal with you at all.

___You've tried negotiation and/or mediation, and found that the other party wouldn't deal with you in good faith.

___You want a judge to order mediation, fact-finding, or arbitration to resolve an issue.

___The other party has made it clear that legal action is the only course it will accept.

___You know or believe that the other party is about to initiate legal action against you.

___The other party is doing, or about to do, something so harmful that you have to act quickly and pointedly.

___Taking legal action is part of a larger strategy to keep the opposition off balance while you work to get a law passed that will make your suit unnecessary.

___If you win, you may set a legal precedent that helps your cause over the long term.

You hesitate to take legal action because:

___It's expensive.

___It's time-consuming.

___It can be extremely unpleasant.

___It can destroy current or potential relationships.

___The effort you put into the lawsuit may take away from your other work as an advocate.

___There's no guarantee that, after all the expenditure of money, time, good will, reputation, etc., you'll win.

___If you lose, you may set a legal precedent that hurts your cause over the long term.