October 14, 2008

In-House Attorneys Predict Increase in Conflict

A survey of in-house counsel by the law firm Fulbright & Jaworski found that nearly a third anticipate an increase in legal disputes. Attorneys working for companies with more than $1 billion in revenue, foresee a 43 percent increase in litigation and the numbers were even higher for financial services businesses. Reasons given for the projected increase included turmoil in the credit markets and subprime related litigation. As a result, 17 percent of in-house counsel said they were likely to beef up their in-house litigation staffs as they prepare for more suits. (ABA Journal.)

Related posts: MoFo Partner Backs Ombuds as Remedy for Micro-Inequties; Study: Settling Better Than Winning a Lawsuit.

Does this mean that there will be a corresponding increase in hiring organizational ombuds, mediators, grievance officers, and other ADR professionals? Probably not in the short term. Yet attorneys predicting an increase in legal disputes have an ethical obligation to advise their clients to implement measure other than simply beefing up litigation staff. Corporations receiving this advice from attorneys should understand that there are more cost-effective options to managing conflict than simply lawyering-up.

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