Fulbright & Jaworski has conducted their Litigation Trends survey for nearly the past decade and the results are always interesting since they tend to capture the mindset of inside counsel and litigators as they anticipate the upcoming year. In their 8th Annual Litigation Trends Survey, Fulbright noted that 92% of U.S. respondents predict that litigation will either increase or stay the same in the upcoming year. This trend bodes well for players in the litigation services and eDiscovery sectors, and confirms the counter cyclical nature of the industry. Breaking down the perceived increases across industry verticals, the Survey noted that the biggest anticipated jumps were in the technology, financial services, healthcare and insurance sectors. Meanwhile energy (the leading sector from the prior year) was one of the few that predicted a decrease.
Going behind the scenes, there were a number of factors that caused respondents to predict litigation increases. First and foremost, respondents indicated that “stricter regulation was the number one reason” for the increases, particularly with insurance, financial services, health care and retail sectors. These concerns around regulatory compliance have been increasingly keeping GCs and corporate boards awake as the governance climate continues to heat up. This regulation driver showed a demonstrable increase with 46% of all respondents having retained outside counsel to assist with regulatory proceedings, up from 37% in the prior year. The Survey noted that U.S. companies facing a regulatory investigation were most likely to be under pressure from the DOJ (27%), State Attorney General (24%), OSHA (18%), the EPA (16%) and U.S. Attorney (13%). Also on the regulatory front, U.S. respondents have increasingly begun to recognize the potential jurisdictional reach of the U.K. Bribery Act, with 25% of U.S. companies stating that they have already conducted a review of existing procedures in preparation for implementation.
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Source: e-Discovery 2.0
By: Dean Gonsowski