Here at New York Commercial Division Practice, my colleagues and I have waxed poetic about New York’s Commercial Divisionthe nation’s first general trial court devoted exclusively to business litigation, by repeatedly extolling the benefits of practicing in a forum dedicated to and fully adept at adjudicating complex business disputes.  As such, we would be remiss if we did not give our plaudits to the Association of Corporate Counsel (“ACC”) for its 28-year history of contributing to the successful creation and implementation of business courts nationwide.

For those who are unaware, the ACC is a global legal association founded in 1982 that promotes the professional and business interests of in-house counsel through information, education, networking, and advocacy. The ACC has since grown to more than 47,000 in-house counsel members, employed by over 10,000 organizations, in more than 105 countries.  The ACC’s New York City Chapter, serving the five boroughs and Long Island, has over 1,600 in-house counsel members.

On October 16, 2023, the ACC’s Board of Directors, through its Advocacy Committee, endorsed a new business courts policy resolution (its third updated and expanded version) whereby the ACC reaffirmed its commitment to “urg[ing] national judiciaries to consider wherever appropriate the advantages of specialized procedures for resolution of business disputes,” and by encouraging them “to create commercial courts or specialized court divisions dedicated to business litigation.”  In large part due to ACC’s extraordinary advocacy efforts, business courts exist in more than half of the United States, and a number of other countries have similarly followed suit.

As set forth in the ACC’s policy resolution, “[c]ommercial courts result in more cost-effective and timely case processing and an improvement in the quality of dispositions.”  The policy resolution enumerates certain features that commercial courts may utilize to facilitate dispute resolution (some of which we have touched upon here), which include: 

  1. Advanced case management techniques, including close judicial oversight of each stage of litigation and case tracking by type and complexity.
  2. State of the art technology.
  3. Court-annexed alternative dispute resolution to encourage early case settlement.
  4. Cooperation among counsel and with the court in achieving a cost-effective resolution of the dispute.

The policy resolution also emphasizes that business courts “foster a more favorable environment for creating and maintaining businesses, and as a result enhance the economic well-being of their nation.”  

In an article entitled ACC’s Evolving Commercial Courts Leadership which was recently published in the publication “ACC Docket” on April 5, 2024, the ACC “spotlight[ed] as an example the many strides that have been achieved in the State of New York in developing one of the United States’ first business courts.”  In that connection, the article states that “ACC and its New York Chapter have advocated for and supported the Commercial Division of the New York State Supreme Court since its inception in 1995,” and that “[a]t every phase of the development of the Commercial Division, ACC is proud to have been at the forefront to advocate for and celebrate its impact.” 

Lest there be any doubt about the economic impact of the Commercial Division, on March 28, 2024, the NYSBA Committee on Continuing Legal Education, as well as the Business Law and General Practice Sections, sponsored a highly informative lunch-time webinar entitled, “The Economic Benefits of the Commercial Division to the State of New York and to the Success of Your Law Practice,” which explored how the Commercial Division helps New York State attract and retain businesses, thereby generating tax revenues and providing jobs, as well as how it enables New York businesses to operate more efficiently by reducing the amount of time and resources businesses are required to dedicate to dispute resolution.  A flyer circulated in connection with the webinar outlined the reasons why the Commercial Division is “renowned as one of the world’s most efficient venues for the resolution of commercial disputes.”

No doubt the Commercial Division has had an outsize impact on the New York business community, which once again brings to mind a common refrain around here at Farrell Fritz and on this blog, Get thee to the Commercial Division!