Not as Corrupt
Companies may be conducting more business in a global sphere than ever before, but with the government’s watchful eye looming, many of those businesses are taking extra precautions to conduct foreign dealings the right way. According to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), enforcement of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) has not only stopped its recent litigation spike, but instead has plummeted. The SEC says enforcement actions were down two-thirds in 2013 from the previous year, with only five FCPA prosecutions through the middle of December.
$3.4 billion in sanctions from the FCPA, the highest dollar amount in history despite the low enforcement actions
5 enforcement actions in 2013 resulted in settlements, which means not one charged company elected for trial
20 FCPA enforcement actions were handed down in 2011, four times 2013’s number
No More Schooling
Sure, the legal market isn’t exactly a hopping place to be for young professionals, especially considering the mental and emotional toll felt by many just getting into the industry. But the American Bar Association says that law schools aren’t feeling just a small pinch — law schools are seeing their lowest application rates since the 1970’s. In 2013, 39,675 full-time and part-time students enrolled in law school, the lowest number since the ABA recorded just one student less (39,674) in 1977.
11% drop in law school applications between 2012 and 2013
Nearly 5,000 fewer law school applicants in 2013 compared with 2012
67% of ABA law schools experienced declines in first-year enrollment
More with Less
Between the heavy penalties associated with the mortgage crisis and increased enforcement of various government policies (such as the aforementioned FCPA), the SEC always seems to be at the center of the legal conversations. That’s why it may surprise some government watchers, then, that the number of started early-stage SEC probes was actually down in Fiscal Year 2013 to its lowest point in at least a decade. But that’s traded off by the big-ticket items: The amount received in disgorgement and penalties was 10 percent higher than in 2012.
686 enforcement actions filed by the SEC in FY 2013
$3.4 billion received in penalties and disgorgement
3,238 tips received to the Office of the Whistleblower
According to a study by the National Association for Law Placement (NALP), minority placement in legal firms and law schools is on the rise. But is it enough? NALP executive director James Leipold doesn’t believe so, calling the incremental gains a “red flag.” In 2013, minorities made up 13.4 percent of law firm workers, only a slight increase over 2012’s figures and far below the national average. In addition, the percentage of women in law has decreased since 2010.
12.9% minorities in law firms and law schools in 2012, 0.5 percent lower than 2013’s figure
7.1% of firm partners are minorities, an increase of 0.4 percent over 2012
Has your company filed for more patents in the past year than it did previously? That’s not out-of-the-ordinary; in fact, according to a World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) report, worldwide patent filings are on the upswing. The WIPO report says 2013 IP filings saw their strongest growth in 18 years. However, those filings aren’t necessarily coming from the American side of the pond — for the first time, China led all countries in number of patents filed throughout the world.
2.35 million more patent applications filed in the past year, representing growth of over 9 percent
8.66 million patents processed worldwide in 2012
23.4% increase in utility model (UM) filings, outpacing industrial design filings (17%) and trademark filings (6%)
2.24 million patents filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office in 2012
For more on the facts and figures that matter in the legal world, check out InsideCounsel’s roundup from December 2013!