Monday, October 18, 2010

Interesting data in latest litigation trends survey

Law firm Fulbright & Jaworski has released its 6th annual Litigation Trends survey (you can also read my thoughts on the 2009 survey and 2008 survey). This year's survey of 275 U.S. companies of various sizes and industries has some interesting findings:

  • More than 25% of those surveyed expect the number of disputes their companies face to increase in the next 12 months, while only 6% foresee a decrease.
  • 40% of U.S. respondents cite the poor economy as the reason for the expected increase in litigation next year.
  • 49% of respondents had labor and employment litigation pending in 2010, up from 45% in 2009.
  • Yet, employment cases of various types either increased at a slower pace in 2010 as compared to 2009.
These statistics are the opposite of what one would expect in a down economy that is trying to rebound. Race, sex, age, disability, and religious discrimination cases all slowed in 2010. Yet, most respondents expect discrimination cases to increase in 2011. 

It's hard to know what to make of these results. On the one hand, one would expect the pace of employment litigation to pick up in a down economy. On the other hand, it could simply be that the economy, and its effect on jobs, was worse last year than this year. Or, maybe 275 companies is too small of a sample to be truly predictive of what's happening in corporate America. Regardless, it is foreboding that businesses almost unanimously see the pace of litigation either quickening or staying the same in 2011. In other words, I'm sure I'll have plenty to write about in the coming year.

Presented by Kohrman Jackson & Krantz, with offices in Cleveland and Columbus. For more information, contact Jon Hyman, a partner in our Labor & Employment group, at (216) 736-7226 or