Seasoned Trial Attorneys, Exceptional Results

  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Commercial Litigation
  4.  » Commercial vs. civil litigation and emerging trends

Commercial vs. civil litigation and emerging trends

When organizations get involved in a legal dispute, it is viewed as commercial litigation. However, commercial litigation is often mistaken as civil litigation. Many categories of lawsuits fall under civil litigation and while commercial litigation can fall under this umbrella, they are not the same thing.


The commercial matter progresses in the same manner as civil litigation. Both cases require investigations, research, negotiations, discovery, motion practice, judge or jury, pre- and post-trial motions, etc. But this is an almost perfunctory similarity.

What distinguishes the commercial suit is litigants are businesses. A business can be part of a civil matter, but the commercial matter is specialized and complex. It can be a multi-district or class action litigation. This is a factual and legal differentiation that separates the commercial from the civil side.

More often than not, commercial litigation goes before a federal court. Due to the complexity of these matters, commercial cases can go on for years. This makes it more expensive than civil litigation. Forensic experts and e-discovery, as well as the typical upsets common in commercial litigation, can significantly extend the time and costs.


The climate of political administration is in constant motion. Regulations, business landscapes, economy, laws, governing bodies, rules, all evolve. Commercial litigation feels the impact too. An attorney is consistently poised for change and how it may affect matters before them.

Studies are showing the volume of commercial litigation is gradually increasing. Recent federal court statistics reveal these specific cases increased 5% in 2016. The time to litigate cases has also increased. The average period from filing to disposition went from 8.8 months in 2015 to 9.2 months in 2016.

Another report said 2017 trends for commercial litigation show “bet-the-company” cases jumped four times over the previous two years. Organizations sought more efficient and faster resolutions. This may link to businesses spending more on intellectual property, employment, and class action litigation. All to protect the company from being subject to commercial litigation.

Commercial litigation is gradually increasing in the following venues:

  • Cybersecurity and data breach litigation
  • Securities class actions
  • Employment litigation

Due to the entangled arguments, these business disputes have the potential to explode unexpectedly. Attorneys also face the pressure of keeping costs practical. Yet, they want to and must still provide clients with exceptional service.

The key to success will be leadership and creating a strong link between all parties. This is done through experience, management skills, and commitment.