Navigating the Commercial Litigation Process: A Step-by-Step Guide

Contact Our New Jersey Commercial Litigation Lawyers at Herold Law, P.A. for Help With Your Legal Matter

Commercial litigation can be a drawn-out process. A case could last several years from beginning to end. It is essential that you have an understanding of the process beforehand so you know what to expect. Here is a broad outline of the steps in your commercial litigation.


The two parties are often involved in a protracted dispute. What happens before litigation can be crucial to the case. First, you and the other party could avoid a lawsuit altogether. Your attorneys could engage with each other to find a mutually agreeable solution. You may even consider mediation, where a trained professional helps the two parties talk. Early involvement from an attorney could help you communicate your position to the other side and shore up your position before litigation if necessary.

Filings With the Court

The litigation process begins when one party files a complaint and serves it on the other. The complaint will include a statement of the alleged facts and the legal grounds under which the plaintiff is seeking relief.

Once the complaint has been filed with the court, the other party has a deadline to submit their answer to the complaint. They can admit or deny the facts or offer their own version of the story. The defendant may also file a counterclaim with their grounds for a lawsuit.

Motion Practice

Once the complaint and answer have been filed, the defendant may file a motion to dismiss the case with the court. They may have a specific defense, such as the case not being filed within the statute of limitations. In most cases, the defendant will claim that the plaintiff has failed to state a case that entitles them to legal relief. The judge will rule on the motion to dismiss. They could grant or deny it or narrow the case by dismissing some, but not all, of the lawsuit grounds.


Discovery is the most detailed and time-intensive part of a commercial litigation case. Your attorney can request factual and documentary evidence from the other side to help you build the case you will present in court. Your lawyer may take depositions of the opposing party’s witnesses.

The other side has the same right to assemble their case. You may receive requests to produce large amounts of evidence and information. You could have your deposition taken. You would be working closely with your attorney to respond to these requests.

Settlement Negotiations

You may be discussing a potential settlement with the other party throughout your case. Most lawsuits will settle at some point before they reach a trial in court. There are various points during your case when the parties may be more likely to settle the case. One key juncture is if the judge refuses to grant either party’s motion to dismiss the case.

The conclusion of discovery is another key juncture in a lawsuit. At that point, both sides have a relatively good idea of where they stand and their risks at trial. The parties may also file a motion for summary judgment, asking the judge to rule when they believe the facts are not disputed.


If you cannot reach a settlement agreement or believe you do not have to settle, your case will go to court. Each attorney will present evidence and witness testimony to prove their side of the story. The plaintiff has the burden of proof to demonstrate their case by a preponderance of the evidence. Eventually, the judge or jury would rule after considering the evidence presented.

Contact Our New Jersey Commercial Litigation Lawyers at Herold Law, P.A. for Help With Your Legal Matter

If you find yourself facing the possibility of a lawsuit, our New Jersey commercial litigation lawyers at Herold Law, P.A. can work on your behalf. Call 908-679-5011 or contact us online to schedule a consultation. We proudly serve clients across New Jersey.