US law firm, Fulbright & Jaworski, has offices all around the world in places as disparate as Dubai, Munich, Riyadh, Hong Kong, London and Beijing.
This is the 6th year that the firm has polled corporate law departments on the state of global litigation and the results confirm not only that there is an upswing in instructions but also that increasing litigation activity is anticipated in the year to come.
I have commented previously on where I have seen the litigation coming from and it is gratifying to see the survey confirm the trends:
- Contracts and employment litigation
- Regulatory actions
The detail is:
Regulatory investigations and whistleblower allegations are expected to eat up litigation resources in the year ahead. Looking to 2010, 16% of all respondents (and 23% of large-caps) say they expect the number of internal investigations involving their company to increase. Industry-wise, approximately 20% each of financial services, insurance and technology companies expect internal investigations to rise in the coming year. This tracks expected increases in whistleblower cases: 24% of all respondents and 31% of large-cap companies expect the number of claims brought by whistleblowers in their industries to go up.
What lies ahead? The survey says:
- In house Counsel have geared up for litigation in a number of ways with 16% planning to spend more on e-discovery.
- Clients plan to cut costs by either doing e-discovery in house or by employing law firms with specialised e-discovery practices and/ or outsourcing certain e-discovery functions to preferred provider companies
- Stricter document retention and destruction policies will be used to cut discovery costs.
- Networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter will be used more.
- Costs are very much an issue. More than one third of the companies say that the economic downturn has resulted in an increase in litigation caseloads but also in the use of alternative fee arrangements. “Tighter cost control, more than anything else, is the most important way in which the economic crisis has affected litigation management”, say respondents.
All of which is good news for those in the e-discovery market and for lawyers with specialist e-discovery practices. It confirms a trend we have identified previously towards specialisation either in house at the law firm or by use of a specialist e-discovery firm.
The message is clear. There is work out there but in order to get it law firms must get to grips with e-discovery and not just pay lip service to the idea.
Download the report: http://www.fulbright.com/litigationtrends07