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In-House Counsel

More than Half of the Largest Companies Expect More Litigation Next Year

Posted Oct 15, 2009 9:52 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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There is one bright spot for law firms in a survey of in-house counsel: More than 40 percent of the respondents expect to see more litigation next year.

Large companies were even more bullish, with 52 percent expecting a litigation increase.

Fulbright & Jaworski chairman Stephen Dillard pointed out the finding in his law firm’s survey of litigation trends in an interview with the Am Law Litigation Daily. "This has been a different type of recession," he told the publication. "But there's reason to believe there's going to be more litigation next year than there was last year."

In Fulbright & Jaworski’s prior survey taken in 2008, only 31 percent expected increased litigation. In the 2007 survey, only 22 percent expected more litigation.

The 2009 survey (PDF) drew responses from 276 senior corporate counsel in the United States and 125 in the United Kingdom.

“The survey confirms some developments we've been reporting over the last year,” the Am Law Litigation Daily reports. “Labor and employment litigation is up; 40 percent of the survey respondents reported increases in wage-and-hour and other employment cases over the last year. Bankruptcy litigation is also on the rise; 9 percent of the outside counsel in the survey said they have pending bankruptcy matters, up from 5 percent in the 2008 survey. Regulatory litigation, internal investigations, and corruption-related work are all creating opportunities for outside counsel, and all of those areas seem to be on course to continue to do so.”

Patent litigation, on the other hand, appears to be on a downward trend, the story says.

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