It should come as no surprise that our current deep recession has been boosting corporate litigation. According to a CFO article published earlier in the year, “[l]egal wrangling is erupting across the board as aggrieved plaintiffs battle over breached labor contracts, unwarranted executive layoffs, dubious financial disclosures, broken supply chains, ailing strategic partnerships, ravaged 401(k) plans, unjust competitive practices, intellectual-property infringements, and curtailed credit lines.” In fact, New York State’s courts will close out 2009 with 4.7 million cases – the highest tally ever – so the general litigation climate could probably not be any worse.
Finding ways to cost-effectively manage this uptick in litigation can be a great challenge for shrinking or non-existent in-house departments. You should tap into your existing service professionals. It is never too late to use your existing providers – whether in insurance, law or accounting – to assess and implement loss control and prevention techniques and initiatives, advocate on your behalf with claims adjusters regarding existing claims, and coordinate existing litigation with outside counsel. Much of this work should be included in your current service contracts or should be at a minimal additional charge.