Companies are facing more litigation now than during the past two years, according to a new survey by business consultancy Alix Partners. Just 7 percent of the chief legal officers surveyed said the number of legal disputes their companies are involved in have dropped over that time. The most common type of business disputes are contract or IP-related cases, and some are significant—10 percent of respondents said their companies were involved in bet-the-company litigation.
36% GCs who said the number of litigation disputes their companies are involved in increased this year
45% Respondents who said their companies’ litigation departments have grown in size
51% Respondents who reported an increase in litigation spending over the past 12 months
89% Litigation departments that have been involved in a contract dispute over the past 12 months, the most common type of legal action
Wall Street Wrongdoings
Wall Street doesn’t exactly have a reputation for adherence to ethical standards, particularly in recent years, but a recent study from Labaton Sucharow throws the Street’s tolerance for questionable behavior into stark relief.
The law firm reported that nearly one-quarter of financial professionals who responded to the survey have seen or had first-hand knowledge of misconduct, and only 15 percent believed that their company’s leadership would alert the authorities to criminal action on the part of a top performer.
52% Survey respondents who believed that their competitors acted illegally or unethically
24% Respondents who thought that people within their own companies acted illegally or unethically
24% Professionals who would engage in insider trading to make $10 million if they would not get caught
29% respondents who thought that financial services professionals may need to act unethically to get ahead in the industry
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
The good news for U.S . workers, according to Littler Mendelson’s Executive Employer Survey Report, is that employers’ concerns over the economy are easing, and the majority of employers plan to hire more workers in the next 12 months. The bad news is that some businesses are continuing to put hiring on hold because of uncertainty surrounding health care and immigration reform.
60% Employers that intend to hire full-time workers in the coming year, down from 71 percent last year
57% Employers that expect health care reform to significantly impact their businesses this year
54% Businesses that are implementing employee wellness programs in response to health care reform
82% Respondents that anticipate a focus on immigration on the part of President Obama
Many general counsel are coming under increasing pressure to cut legal department costs, including on outside counsel spend. But most Fortune 1000 GCs still think they’re paying too much money to law firms, according to Consero Group’s 2013 Spring General Counsel Survey.
There’s plenty else that GCs aren’t too happy about, the survey shows. Significant percentages of GCs say that their companies aren't prepared for cyber attacks (23%) or intellectual property theft (31%), and 69% percent of GCs haven’t selected a successor.
61% GCs who are not satisfied with the rates that they pay outside counsel
61% Respondents who use alternative-fee arrangements (AFAs)
60% GCs who plan to increase their AFA use in the next year
Non-practicing entities are a perennial thorn in the side of IP lawyers, with more than half of patent suits last year being brought by the so-called “patent trolls.” That trend isn’t likely to end anytime soon, if the new 2013 Chief IP Counsel Survey from Consero Group is any indication. None of the chief IP counsel who responded to the survey expect patent litigation to decline in the coming year, and the vast majority believe that the U.S. government is not doing enough to protect companies from patent trolls.
74% Chief IP counsel who are either litigating against patent trolls or expect to in the next year
100% Respondents who anticipate patent litigation to remain steady or increase during the next year
91% Respondents who said the U.S. government is not doing enough to protect companies from patent trolls
51% Respondents who believe government protections against trademark and copyright infringement are inadequate