If a lot is at stake in the lawsuit, you can expect an appeal after the trial is over. Once the appeal is filed, it will probably be a year and half before you get a decision. Remember: the court of appeals can send you back to the trial court to do it all over again. And if someone doesn't like the appellate court's decision, he can appeal that decision up another level, sometimes up another two levels. And all this is just as true when you're a defendant and the trial court has found that you have done nothing wrong. This whole process can take years or even, in some cases, decades. I had a case where my client, a bank that had foreclosed on a residence, filed to evict the former owner. Although the normal time from filing an eviction to the tenant vacating the house is about a month, it was four and half years before the house was empty and then only because the former owner had died.