Litigators have a vulture-like quality, and a bad economy usually means cases (and money) start rolling their way.
This downturn was different. It seemed companies were willing to hold tight, rather than to spend the money to sue.
But maybe things are looking up a bit, at least as measured by an increase in projected cases.
“This as been a different type of recession,” Fulbright & Jaworski chairman Stephen Dillard told Am Law Litigation Daily. “But there’s reason to believe there’s going to be more litigation next year than there was last year.”
For the sixth year, Fulbright commissioned an independent research firm to to survey coporate counsel on the litigation climate. This year’s group of responders was made up of 408 people; 26% are from Texas (where Fulbright is headquartered), 15% are from England and 11% are from the east coast.
The entire report is below, but here are some highlights:
- Almost half of the public companies expect the number of disputes to increase in the next year (only a third thought that last year)
- Not surprisingly, regulatory and bankruptcy actions are up this year; patent infringement suits are down
- More than a third of those responding said use of alternative fee arrangements are up
- Among the largest companies surveyed, 63% initiated litigation this year, down from 85% in 2007
- U.S. companies surveyed prefer litigation to arbitration
- Approximately 20% have seen a decrease in their litigation budgets.
- The percentage of companies who have engaged outside counsel to aid in corruption or bribery investigation nearly doubled in last 12 month, from 7% to 12%
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