Facts & Figures: Litigation financing is here to stay

From patent trolls to shrinking law school classes, an inside look at the numbers that count

Terrible Trolls

According to a recent study by law professor Colleen Chien, more patent trolls than ever are emerging from underneath their proverbial bridges to wreak havoc on companies—particularly startups—despite the fact that they have no valid claim on technologies. In fact, this year for the first time, most patent lawsuits have come courtesy of these trolls. Read on for more survey results.

Court Costs

It’s no secret that litigation is expensive, and in an effort to cover trial costs, some organizations have turned to third-party litigation financing. Supporters argue that it helps to level the playing field between companies with more resources and those with less; detractors say that it could pose ethical conflicts and drag out litigation. But love it or hate it, most litigators expect third-party litigation financing to grow in the next year and a half, according to a new survey from litigation financing provider Burford Group.

Cutting Class

Finals time is fast approaching, but fewer aspiring attorneys will be hitting the books this term, according to a new survey from Kaplan Test Prep. More than half of U.S. schools reduced their class sizes for the 2012-2013 school year, largely because of the sad state of the legal jobs market. And the smaller class sizes aren’t the only difference at these schools: Institutions are also revising their curricula to give students more practical skills training.

Big Bonuses

Some lucky law firm associates don’t have to worry about getting a lump of coal this holiday season, as several major law firms have announced sizeable end-of-year bonuses over the course of the month. Continuing tradition, Cravath Swain and Moore was the first to reveal its numbers, setting a standard that most other major New York law firms are following.

Pruning Partners

Enjoy your bonuses now, law firm partners, because a new study from Wells Fargo Private Bank suggests that more law firms than usual are planning to cull their partnership ranks come 2013. Most of the 115 firms surveyed do not plan to reduce partner numbers, but those that do often cited the problem of underutilized partners.

Alanna Byrne

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