A jury just returned a verdict in a major case. After taking a deep breath, the client asked "What happens now?"
The successful end of a trial in a good verdict does not mean that a check is in the mail or even that the client will be paid. It is only the next step in the process. The Defendant only pays if the Defendant is willing to agree to the amount.
The first step is that the judge has to be asked to enter judgment based on the verdict by the filing of a motion. With a 1-10 day response time, this takes a minimum of 2 weeks. If the parties disagree about the meaning of the verdict or the calculation of prejudgment interest, it can take longer.
Following a verdict, the losing party has the right to file a motions to set aside the verdict or for a new trial. These motions can be made as late as 10 days after the entry of judgment. Again, this means more delay.
Following a verdict, the winning party has the right to file a motion for attorneys' fees and a Bill of Costs. Again, this can be done as late as 10 days after the entry of judgment. Until this is done and resolved, the exact amount owed is undetermined.
Finally, a party has the right to appeal. This can be done as late as 30 days following entry of judgment or denial of the motions to set aside the verdict or for a new trial, whichever is later.
Clients also ask when they can start executing on bank accounts or seizing assets for payment. The earliest this can happen is 10 days after entry of judgment. As a practical matter, it can take much longer.
When a client asks "What happens now?," my answer is that there is still more work to be done. A case is not over until its over.