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Fulbright's 6th Annual Litigation Trend Survey Report Indicates that It's a Great Time to be an eDiscovery Vendor

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Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fulbright's 6th Annual Litigation Trend Survey Report Indicates that It's a Great Time to be an eDiscovery Vendor

Fulbright's 6th Annual Litigation Trend Survey Report is out and there are some really exciting trends to report for those of us in the eDiscovery market.

Fulbright’s 6th Annual Litigation Trends Survey Report was conducted from May through July by Greenwood Associates, a business research firm in Houston that has produced previous editions of the report. The survey, launched by Fulbright in 2004, is the largest polling of corporate counsel on litigation issues and concerns.

Fulbright’s 2009 survey asks companies to consider, among other things, what types of litigation most concerns them, where they’re spending limited budgets and how they are adjusting approaches to litigation management in light of the downturn. This year's survey also delves into special topics, such as how companies are dealing with rising e-discovery costs and employee use of social media Web sites, such as Facebook and Twitter.

The survey reflects information collected from 408 company lawyers—13% more respondents than last year—most of whom identify themselves as either general counsel or head of litigation. Companies polled are both public and private, and span industry groups, from education to energy, engineering, financial services, healthcare, insurance, manufacturing, real estate, retail and technology. A quarter of respondents do business in at least 11 countries. Companies in the survey also are well-represented by size: 16% report revenues of under $100 million, while 31% have revenues between $100 and $999 million, and another 53% are at $1 billion and above.

First of all, accoring to the report, corporate counsel say they are steeling themselves for a big year of litigation with 42% of U.S. respondents anticipating an increase in legal disputes their companies will face in the next 12 months. So that is great new for all the eDiscovery vendors and consultants. That is up from 34% of last year’s respondents. The expectation comes during a year when 83% of U.S. respondents reported that new litigation has been commenced against their companies in the past year, up from 79% last year.

In the year to come, respondents from large-cap companies reported the highest expectation of litigation, with 52% forecasting an increase in legal disputes, while 47% of public company respondents foresee a jump in disputes. The economy was cited as the primary reason for these expectations by 38% of U.S. respondents and 34% of U.K. respondents.

More than one-third of companies say the economic downturn has resulted not only in an increase in their litigation caseloads, but also their use of alternative fees. Tighter cost control, more than anything else, is the most important way in which the economic crisis has affected litigation management, respondents say. So, although the report doesn't come right out and say this, it is obviously a great time to be an eDiscovery vendor and the prospects for even more matters appears to be strong.

Click Here to Download a Copy of the Report

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