What is Commercial & Business Litigation?

Commercial litigation, often referred to as business litigation, is an area of law comprising the various types of disputes that can arise in the business context. These cases include disputes such as a breach of contract, partnership and joint enterprise disputes, class actions, business torts, civil litigation, breach of fiduciary duty, and shareholder to shareholder litigation.

In business-to-business litigation, both sides often have claims and defenses rather than in consumer litigation where there is a clear plaintiff and a clear defendant (think personal injury law where there is an apparent victim and defendant). This is because it is relatively rare for a contractual dispute to arise without both parties playing some role in the resulting disagreement (either justifiably or unjustifiably).

Another facet of commercial litigation is a wide variety of forums that it can occur in. Because most commercial litigation arises from some sort of contract or agreement, the parties to such disputes may be in state court, federal court, private arbitration, or administrative hearings.

Successful commercial litigators must evaluate the merits of a dispute and listen to their client to determine how best to prosecute or defend against a claim. Because of commercial litigation’s complexity, sound judgment and strategic decision making are the two most critical skills. When “bet-the-company” cases arise, making a mistake of judgment is not an option. Also because of its complexity, clients with important commercial litigation matters should be sure to hire attorneys that know their industry, understand their business, and are readily accessible to them in person or by phone.

The complex issues that arise will require many meetings and phone calls to understand correctly. Such meetings are paramount to success as understanding the facts of each case, each industry, and each dispute are critical to properly evaluating a client’s claims or defenses.