Global Law Firm Releases 2016 Survey of Litigation Trends

What does the Norton Rose Fulbright survey show for 2016?

The 2016 Litigation Trends Survey recently released by global law firm Norton Rose-Fulbright polled more than 600 corporate counsels representing companies on issues related to disputes. As we all know, preventing, managing, and negotiating business disputes are an important component of running a business. If you become involved in a business dispute, it is crucial that you contact a highly competent business attorney to advise you and provide you with viable options.

The 2016 Litigation Trends Survey

Since its inception in 2004, the Litigation Trends Survey is the largest report on corporate counsel litigation issues and trends, with over 600 respondents from a wide range of industry sectors. This year’s survey involved 24 countries. Most respondents showed evidence of an upward trend in almost all areas associated with litigation and other disputes.

According to Gerry Pecht, Norton Rose Fulbright’s Global Head of Dispute Resolution and Litigation, “We see the trend of businesses becoming more proactive in how they assess and control litigation exposure.” He went on to explain that the survey reports litigation minimization measures being taken by companies facing disputes as a step towards reducing litigation risks and costs.

Highlights of the Survey

As expected, the report shows a parallel between a company’s revenue and its litigation spending. The median of litigation spending is one-tenth of one percent of a company’s total revenue. Other important data gleaned from the report include the following:

  1. Twenty-four percent of respondents expect a rise in litigation during the next year; only 13 percent expect a decrease. 
  2. Eighty-one percent of respondents reported being sued during the past year, an increase of 6 percent (from 19 percent to 25 percent).
  3. There was an increase in respondents who required a cross-border discovery this year from 35 percent to 41 percent. In fact, the number of respondents who needed to conduct a cross-border discovery in more than half of their matters doubled, reaching 14 percent.
  4. While 97 percent of respondents felt that regulators had intervened more during the last year, the number of companies not facing any regulatory proceedings (66 percent) showed little change.
  5. Litigation related to contracts remains the most numerous type of litigation (40 percent). It is also the top concern of respondents.
  6. Sixty percent of respondents used alternative fee arrangements and 97 percent of those doing so were well-satisfied, citing greater efficiency and control.

Clearly, business disputes are becoming more frequent and business litigation is a time-consuming and costly part of the business world. It is always best to be prepared by having a first-rate business attorney on board to protect your reputation as well as your profit margin.

South Carolina Passes Law Prohibiting Boycotts

What are the latest laws impacting South Carolina business owners? 

In an interesting turn of events, the South Carolina legislature passed a law in early June, 2015, prohibiting the state from entering into a contractual relationship with any business actively engaged in certain types of boycotts. The legislation is unique in that it works to deter or dissuade small businesses from engaging in discriminatory conduct, even when such conduct is less obvious or overt to the general public. 

Under the provisions of Section 11-35-5300 of the South Carolina code, the term “boycott” is used to refer to a business decision rendered by a corporation that involves “blacklisting” or divesting from a certain person or corporate entity for a specific reason. Under the new law, South Carolina public entities and agencies are prohibited from entering into a contract with any private sector entity that actively decides to boycott another business or person based on that entity’s race, color, religion, gender, or national origin. 

For many small businesses, choosing not to work with a certain individual or entity is a natural component of the free trade experience. For these reasons, the legislature added to the bill the caveat that the term “boycott” is not defined to include any decision based solely on economic factors or the specific conduct of a member or director of an entity. Likewise, the bill contains an exception to the boycott rule when a divesture is applied against “a public entity of a foreign state when the boycott is applied in a nondiscriminatory manner.”

As a South Carolina business owner, it is important to understand the pivotal distinction between a lawful boycott, and one that could cost your business lucrative government contract revenue. Keep in mind that your board is well within its rights to make a calculated economic decision not to work with a certain entity or individual, provided the decision is not based on any discriminatory motive whatsoever. 

If you are concerned with corporate compliance and would like to speak with a reputable Florence and Myrtle Beach business  and corporate law attorney, please contact Willcox, Buyck & Williams by calling (843)461-3020 right away.