Litigation Uptick Looms

U.S. companies are preparing for a rise in litigation amid the economic downturn, according to the Fifth Annual Litigation Trends Survey from international law firm Fulbright & Jaworski. Despite two straight years of reporting declines in the numbers of new lawsuits and regulatory proceedings, this year’s survey reveals an important shift as to how U.S. corporate law departments view the litigation climate. Some 34 percent of in-house counsel at U.S. firms now expect to see an increase in the number of legal disputes faced by their company in the year ahead, while 25 percent expect an  uptick in the number of regulatory proceedings on the horizon. Fulbright reports that billion-dollar firms were especially wary, with 43 percent anticipating more litigation versus 34 percent last year. Financial firms feel the most at risk, with 50 percent expecting more disputes, followed by education (43 percent predicting uptick), health care firms (40 percent), retailers (39 percent) and insurers (36 percent). We note that insurers were the number one target for new litigation in the past year – two-thirds of insurers faced at least six new lawsuits, including 29 percent facing more than 50 new actions. Check out I.I.I. information on the liability system.  

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