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Fulbright’s Litigation Trends Survey: A Little Less Litigation; More Regulation

October 21, 2011 Comments off

Fulbright’s Litigation Trends Survey: A Little Less Litigation; More Regulation
Source: Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.

Businesses in the United States and United Kingdom initiated and faced slightly less litigation in 2011 than in 2010. But regulatory actions and internal investigations are climbing, according to the 2011 Fulbright Litigation Trends Survey.

More than one-third of corporate counsel report there has been an increase in external regulatory inquiries directed at their companies, and more than one-quarter of respondents expect the year ahead will bring more litigation and regulation as companies attempt to grow in an economy that remains volatile.

The vast majority of corporate counsel polled in the U.S. and the U.K. predict litigation will either rise or remain the same in the next 12 months: 92% of U.S. companies and 85% of U.K. companies. Of those, one-third of U.S. respondents predict an increase while 20% of U.K. respondents expect a rise in legal disputes in the coming 12 months. That compares with 31% and 16%, respectively, last year.

By size, nearly twice as many large-caps ($1 billion or more in gross revenues) as mid-caps ($100 million to $999 million in revenues) expect litigation to rise during the next 12 months. Sector-wise, more than one-third of respondents in the technology, engineering and health care industries are bracing for a jump in disputes.

Stricter regulation and company growth topped the reasons cited for the anticipated increase in litigation. Meanwhile, worries over the poor economy, the No. 1 reason cited last year for an expected rise in disputes, declined significantly to 21% from 41%.

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