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Opposing Counsel (Definition: All You Need To Know)

What is opposing counsel?

How do you define who an opposing attorney is?

What are the important elements that you must know!

Keep reading as we have gathered exactly the information that you need!

Let’s dig into our legal dictionary!

Are you ready?

Let’s get started!

What is an opposing counsel 

An opposing counsel is a lawyer or attorney representing an opposing party in a lawsuit.

In a legal dispute, you’ll typically have the plaintiff represented by an attorney along with the defendant also legally represented.

The plaintiff’s attorney is the opposing counsel to the defendant’s attorney and vice-versa.

They are said to be “opposing” as they are dealing against one another in the context of the same case or matter where they are defending opposing views, claims or legal issues.

Opposing counsel definition

How do you define the role of opposing counsel or opposing lawyer?

An opposing counsel is a legal professional, lawyer or attorney who represents a party acting in opposition to another party in a legal dispute.

The term “opposing” is defined as:

To place opposite or against something

In a lawsuit, you have litigants opposing one another and their respective attorneys will be opposing attorneys.

In a civil lawsuit, the opposing attorneys are those that represent the plaintiffs and the defendants.

In a criminal lawsuit, the opposing counsel is the prosecutor vs defense attorney.

Duties of opposing attorneys 

Opposing attorneys are required to collaborate in the context of a lawsuit or any other matter to achieve the best possible result for their clients.

For example:

In a lawsuit, the opposing lawyers must exchange evidence with one another, handle depositions, exchange correspondence with one another and handle any other case logistics, negotiations or pleadings.

Lawyers play an important role as legal professionals in the administration of justice and must act professionally and adopt exemplary conduct when practicing law.

The role of an opposition counsel is not an easy one.

As a legal professional, every lawyer is bound to respect the rules of professional conduct as outlined by their local professional code of conduct.

At the same time, they must deal with parties in a dispute who may be angry, have bursts of emotions and have profound disagreements on many aspects of their case.

This is combined with the fact that they must also push hard for their client so they can succeed in representing their client.

A lawyer in general, acting in opposition or not, must:

  • Remain professional at all times
  • Respect the rules of professional conduct 
  • Respect the other lawyers and parties in a lawsuit 
  • Remain courteous when dealing with the courthouse, judges, clerks or other officers of the justice
  • Avoid placing himself or herself in a conflict of interest 
  • Deal with unrepresented litigants with as much professional courtesy as other lawyers 

At the end of the day, every attorney or lawyer’s success will be driven by the person’s reputation and how others (such as peers) will judge the person.

Dealing with opposing counsel 

How do you deal with a lawyer representing the other party?

Whether you are an attorney yourself or are self-representing in court, you may need to deal with a lawyer representing the other party in a lawsuit.

In that context, the communications and relationship may be strained as you must deal with the stresses of the lawsuit but also a person who is paid to make things difficult for you!

Here are some tips on how to deal with a difficult attorney representing the opposing party:

  • Try to find points that you can mutually agree upon (no matter how small)
  • Ask all your questions even if it appears to bother the opposing attorney
  • Don’t get sucked into the lawyer intimidation tactics 
  • Call when the opposing counsel is not responding 
  • Make sure you stay focused on your legal objectives 
  • Don’t make broad assumptions about the other party’s litigation strategy 

Your conduct with opposing lawyers may be different depending on the nature of the case and circumstances.

No matter what, it’s important to keep the relationship as respectful, courteous and professional as possible even though you may disagree on many points or issues relating to the case.


So what is opposing lawyer?

Let’s look at a summary of our findings.

Opposing Counsel:

  • Lawyer or attorney representing the opposing party in a lawsuit or dispute 
  • The plaintiff’s lawyer is an opposing counsel to the defendant’s lawyer and vice-versa
  • Opposing lawyers have the duty to respect their professional code of conduct 
  • Adopting good strategies can make dealings with opposing lawyers much easier

Related legal terms and concepts

Procedural Due Process
Professional responsibility 
Conflict of interest 
Legal duty 
Editorial Staffhttps://lawyer.zone
Hello Nation! I'm a lawyer and passionate about law. I've practiced law in a boutique law firm, worked in a multi-national organization and as in-house counsel. I've been around the block! On this blog, I provide you with golden nuggets of information about lawyers, attorneys, the law and legal theories. Enjoy!


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