NEW YORK - Corporate litigation is widely expected to continue to increase over the next year, a poll of corporate counsel indicates.
The survey from the law firm Fulbright & Jaworski LLP found that about 83 percent of corporate counsel from public and private companies in the United States and Britain said their companies had been the target of a lawsuit in the past year, and they expect more to come.
Forty-two percent of respondents said they expected litigation to further increase in the coming months, compared to 34 percent of respondents who said so in last year's survey.
The report also said regulatory actions and corporate whistle-blower investigations are expected to "eat up litigation resources" in the coming year, with 16 percent of respondents saying they expect the number of internal investigations involving their company to increase.
"The Department of Justice, the Environmental Protection Agency and states attorneys general have been particularly active," the report said.
About one-third of the 408 respondents to this year's Fulbright & Jaworski's Litigation Trends Survey said the poor economic climate has increased litigation and the use of alternative fees.
"Generally, litigation rises in an economic downturn as regulators tend to step up enforcement, laid-off workers head to court and companies need to file more suits in order to collect on money owed," said Stephen Dillard, who leads Fulbright's global litigation practice. "Perhaps most telling about this year's results is that companies across the spectrum expect no substantial decreases in any area of litigation."
The Fulbright & Jaworski survey was conducted from May to July. The survey has been conducted annually since 2004.
The report noted that all sizes of businesses agree they are facing significant increases in bankruptcy, contracts and labor/employment litigation, while moderate increases are seen in intellectual property, insurance and regulatory lawsuits.
"Perhaps most telling about this year's results is that companies across the spectrum expect no substantial decreases in any area of litigation," Dillard said.