In the present day, ditching a 9-5 job to start a business is becoming increasingly popular among college graduates. You blink, and there’s a new vegan café or a fast-fashion store on the block. Plus, the constant advancement in technology, such as AI and smartphones, has afforded the general population to produce and sell their products with greater ease.
However, as a business grows and expands, it becomes essential to understand the laws, rules, and guidelines. The size and customer reach of one’s operations don’t negate the responsibility they’re endowed with as business owners. Apart from interacting with diverse people, business owners also interact with various business practices and codes of conduct. For instance, employment, labor, trademarks, insurance, patents, and government regulations. These tasks are taken on by individuals also known as a copyright lawyer. And all of these different business aspects are what comprise commercial litigation. Therefore, it’s vital to understand the key differences between civil and corporate litigation.
Usually, the litigation process involves hiring legal professionals to resolve disputes in the court and strive to claim some form of compensation. Litigation is further divisible into two unique categories: civil and corporate.
While the procedures of the two categories have remarkable similarities, there are some critical differences to note too. And if you’re confused about how to propel your legal career further, such as through a JD or LLM, reading the following article can provide clarity. Now, let’s look at the differences between commercial and civil law and what they entail for your future career.
Civil law concerns lawsuits between two parties or ordinary individuals. One party registers a claim for monetary compensation from the other. In these cases, the main thing to note is that the concerned will only receive the demanded compensation if the court intervenes. Civil law claims are relatively easy and quick to resolve.
Contrarily, corporate litigation concerns lawsuits between two private or public corporations and businesses. In essence, it resolves disputes for claims that have some corporate relevance. Unlike civil claims, commercial/corporate dispute resolution and compensation can be difficult and time-consuming.
Most corporate/commercial litigation cases follow the same course as civil litigation cases. This litigation process involves the stages mentioned below.
- Conducting preliminary investigations, considering dispute resolution options, pre-action protocols
- Filing of claim, building the case, producing counter-claims, disclosing documents, witness statements
- Preparing for the court trial, trial proceedings, enforcement, and defendant appeals
Additionally, the processes within these individual stages are also the same. These include acquiring a lawyer/solicitor, reading up on the law, sending and receiving letters, and negotiating settlements or compensation.
And the differences
The critical difference that sets corporate litigation cases apart is that they deal with businesses and companies, making the nature of these claims much more complex. Higher legal and factual intricacies imply that corporate lawsuits can continue for ages without the hope of any solution.
Besides, commercial litigation involves higher costs and fees, owing to the forensic experts and the more comprehensive investigations. Still, legal parties worldwide are more inclined to opt for the commercial litigation method to resolve more valuable and complicated issues. This legal system is perceived to be more trustworthy and predictable, so most companies rely on it instead of other forms of law.
Civil claims examples
As mentioned above, a civil claim involves claims by individuals that cover the following issues:
- Claims for industrial accidents
- Fraud or defamation
- Employment claims
- Intellectual property claims
- Personal injury claims
Corporate claims examples
- Partnership agreement disputes
- Shareholder disputes
- Claims for breach of contract
Commercial litigation’s career implications
Apart from their usual customers, a growing business has to cater to multiple stakeholders. For example, business partners, suppliers, and potential investors, among others.
On top of these responsibilities, businesses must honor contracts, follow federal laws, and keep up with their transactions. Commercial lawyers can step in to resolve any issues arising in any of these areas. However, commercial litigation can be tricky as the business landscape and its laws are constantly shifting.
Consider the development and introduction of mobile apps in the market. Besides opening up new business opportunities, it opened up a new branch of law covering data privacy and cybersecurity.
Civil litigation’s career implications
Contrary to popular belief, civil law and criminal law are two separate fields. To restate, civil lawyers resolve conflicts between two parties, in which one is claiming compensation for damages. The claimant is not concerned with criminal charges or penalties, which are rarely ever an issue anyway.
A civil law career entails dealing with lawsuits related to divorce, medical malpractice, and landlord-tenant disputes. Civil litigation cases rarely see the light of the court and often get settled through mutual agreements. However, when the court must intervene, the process’s duration can range between a few months to years. This time doesn’t reflect the nature of the specific law. Instead, it depends on the particular parties’ relationship and the complexity of the claim.
The majority avoids dabbling in matters of the law like it’s the plague. But, sometimes, the circumstances might force one. The situation is entirely different for law school graduates looking to enrich their professional growth. The wide array of attractive career options make it challenging to choose a future career path. And to help in that regard, this article shed some light on two significant branches of law, civil and corporate. Though broadly similar, commercial and civil laws also have distinct differences in nature, time duration of cases, and related costs.
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