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Upholding Legal Ethics In Commercial Litigation

In the realm of commercial litigation, attorneys are not only advocates for their clients but also stewards of justice, entrusted with upholding the integrity of the legal profession. As such, adherence to ethical principles and professional responsibilities is paramount in ensuring fair and just outcomes while maintaining the trust and confidence of clients, courts, and the public.

The work of a commercial litigation attorney covers a lot of ground, but mainly centers around solving business disputes. Commercial litigators must follow a strict set of professional ethics; failure to do so can have repercussions for their career and may jeopardize any legal proceedings their clients are involved in. Our friends at Eric Lindh Foster Law, LLC, take attorney ethics very seriously, and offer insight into the professional obligations of a commercial lawyer, such as conflicts of interest, attorney-client privilege, confidentiality, and zealous advocacy.

Conflicts Of Interest

One of the fundamental ethical duties of a commercial litigation attorney is to avoid conflicts of interest that may compromise their loyalty to their clients or the integrity of the legal process. Conflicts can arise in various forms, including simultaneous representation of clients with conflicting interests, representation adverse to a former client, or personal relationships that may impair impartiality.

In cases where conflicts are unavoidable, attorneys must consider withdrawing from representation or implementing appropriate safeguards to mitigate the risk of prejudice to clients or adverse parties.

Attorney-Client Privilege

Attorney-client privilege is a cornerstone of the legal profession that protects the confidentiality of communications between attorneys and their clients. Commercial litigators have a duty to safeguard privileged communications and refrain from disclosing confidential information without the client’s consent, except in limited circumstances permitted by law.

Maintaining attorney-client privilege requires clear communication with clients about the scope and limitations of confidentiality, establishing secure methods for communication and document storage, and exercising discretion when sharing information with third parties, including co-counsel, experts, and litigation support personnel.


In addition to attorney-client privilege, commercial litigators have a broader duty of confidentiality that extends to all information relating to the representation of a client, regardless of whether it is privileged. This duty encompasses not only oral and written communications but also other sensitive information obtained in the course of legal representation, including facts, strategies, and work product.

Commercial litigators must exercise caution to protect the confidentiality of client information in all aspects of their practice, including case discussions, court filings, discovery proceedings, and interactions with opposing parties. This obligation requires adherence to professional standards of integrity and discretion, as well as compliance with ethical rules and court orders governing the handling of confidential information.

Zealous Advocacy

While commercial litigators are duty-bound to zealously advocate for their clients’ interests, this duty must be balanced with the overarching goal of promoting fairness, integrity, and respect for the legal process. Zealous advocacy does not justify unethical or improper conduct, such as making false statements to the court, engaging in abusive litigation tactics, or disregarding the rights of opposing parties and witnesses.

By adhering to ethical principles, commercial litigators can fulfill their duty to serve as effective advocates while upholding the principles of justice and fairness in the pursuit of legal remedies for their clients.