The End of the World as We Know It: The New World of Litigation

REM’s apocalyptic hit ceaselessly inventories a parade of revolutionary events which will forever alter our world. From earthquakes to government coups, the jangly tune invokes visions of awesome transformation. The end is catastrophic.

Comparing forthcoming changes in litigation to the Apocalypse is certainly melodramatic. The pending developments in litigation are neither disastrous nor bleak. Yet the changes are dramatic. And your firm’s survival depends on being fully and thoroughly prepared for what is about to unfold. Welcome to The New World of Litigation.

The lines have been drawn for quite some time. Yet the boundaries between the types of litigation are quickly becoming more pronounced—and less easily traversed. The New World of Litigation has three distinct “zones,” each one unique in its size, relative cost, rate tolerance, level of risk and requisite resources. Like an Orwellian immigration process, inbound litigation is immediately evaluated, probed and put through a battery of tests to determine its appropriate assignment.

Corporate counsel call this process early case assessment. Today, nearly 95% of corporate counsel apply early case assessment.

The three “zones” in The New World of Litigation are:

  • Mega‐Matters (including bet‐the‐company)
  • Complex or Sophisticated
  • Routine or Value‐Focused

The New World of Litigation compels firms to select the field on which they would like to do battle. Crossing seamlessly from bet‐the‐company defense to value‐based work will become increasingly challenging. Each of the three litigation “zones”—Mega‐Matters, Sophisticated and Value‐Based—have different rules of engagement. Their priorities, needs, objectives and sensitivities are unique. Savvy firms will stake their claim now and systematically dedicate time, money and effort to fortifying their position.