Litigation Got You Down?

If the tug-of-war of litigation is getting you down, you’re not alone. This year, spending cuts, fee caps, resolution mandates and other aggressive tactics are bringing down not just litigation dollars, but the entire legal market. With a projected growth rate of -1.6% (yes, that is negative), the market for outside counsel services in litigation is putting a damper on the outlook for 2012, dragging the overall legal market into negative territory with a projected downsizing of 0.3%.

In a virtually unprecedented display of buying power, corporate counsel are reining in litigation costs through a deft combination of fee negotiations, rate pressure, early case settlement, aggressive resolution tactics, ramped up technology use and select outsourcing to non-law firm third parties. What’s a litigator to do?

Strategies to overcome the downward pressure on litigation vary from the tried-and-true (target complex litigation) to the innovative (proactively work with clients to analyze and reduce their litigation portfolio). A few proven approaches excerpted from the recently released BTI Premium Practices Forecast 2012:

1.     Go for the growth: IP litigation, antitrust and employment-related cases buck the trend, with projected growth rates ranging from 3.5% to 8.6% for 2012

2.     Speak resolution: Clients anticipate resolution rates for litigation of 36.9% in 2011 and most plan to continue their aggressive tact in the year to come. Initiate a dialogue and offer creative solutions to position your firm to win new business.

3.     Be transparent: Corporate counsel are fast placing an increasing value on the ability of a law firm to provide a window into budget, staffing and case progress. Adopt a policy of offering this information at the onset of every case, and at regular intervals throughout the course of the matter.

Get more recommendations and proven strategies in BTI’s Premium Practices Forecast 2012: The Survey of Corporate Legal Spending.