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Fulbright’s Litigation Trends Survey Shows Increased Litigation, Mobile Device Collection – eDiscovery Trends

According to Fulbright’s 9th Annual Litigation Trends Survey released last month, companies in the United States and United Kingdom continue to deal with, and spend more on litigation.  From an eDiscovery standpoint, the survey showed an increase in requirements to preserve and collect data from employee mobile devices, a high reliance on self-preservation to fulfill preservation obligations and a decent percentage of organizations using technology assisted review.

Here are some interesting statistics from the report:


Here is a breakdown of the participants in the survey.

  • There were 392 total participants from the US and UK, 96% of which were either General Counsel (82%) or Head of Litigation (14%).
  • About half (49%) of the companies surveyed, were billion dollar companies with $1 billion or more in gross revenue.  36% of the total companies have revenues of $10 billion or more.


The report showed increases in both the number of cases being encountered by organizations, as well as the total expenditures for litigation.

Increasing Litigation Cases

  • This year, 92% of respondents anticipate either the same amount or more litigation, up from 89% last year.  26% of respondents expect litigation to increase, while 66% expect litigation to stay the same.  Among the larger companies, 33% of respondents expect more disputes, and 94% expect either the same number or an increase.
  • The number of respondents reporting that they had received a lawsuit rose this year to 86% estimating at least one matter, compared with 73% last year. Those estimating at least 21 lawsuits or more rose to 33% from 22% last year.
  • Companies facing at least one $20 million lawsuit rose to 31% this year, from 23% the previous year.

Increasing Litigation Costs

  • The percentage of companies spending $1 million or more on litigation has increased for the third year in a row to 54%, up from 51% in 2011 and 46% in 2010, primarily due to a sharp rise in $1 million+ cases in the UK (rising from 38% in 2010 up to 53% in 2012).
  • In the US, 53% of organizations spend $1 million or more on litigation and 17% spend $10 million or more.
  • 33% of larger companies spent $10 million on litigation, way up from 19% the year before (and 22% in 2010).


The report showed an increase in requirements to preserve and collect data from employee mobile devices, a high reliance on self-preservation to fulfill preservation obligations and a decent percentage of organizations using technology assisted review.

Mobile Device Preservation and Collection

  • 41% of companies had to preserve and/or collect data from an employee mobile device because of litigation or an investigation in 2012, up from 32% in 2011.
  • Similar increases were reported by respondents from larger companies (38% in 2011, up to 54% in 2012) and midsized companies (26% in 2011, up to 40% in 2012).  Only respondents from smaller companies reported a drop (from 26% to 14%).


  • 69% of companies rely on individuals preserving their own data (i.e., self-preservation) in any of their disputes or investigations.  Larger and mid-sized companies are more likely to utilize self-preservation (73% and 72% respectively) than smaller companies (52%).
  • 41% of companies use self-preservation in all of their matters, and 73% use it for half or more of all matters.
  • When not relying on self-preservation, 72% of respondents say they depend on the IT function to collect all data sources of pertinent custodians.
  • Reasons that respondents gave for not relying on self-preservation included: More cost effective and efficient not to rely on custodian 29%; Lack of compliance by custodians 24%; High profile matter 23%; High monetary or other exposure 22%; Need to conduct forensics 20%; Some or all custodians may have an incentive to improperly delete potentially relevant information; 18%; Case law does not support self-preservation 14% and High profile custodian 11%.

Technology Assisted Review

  • 35% of all respondents are using technology assisted review for at least some of their matters.  U.S. companies are more likely to employ technology-assisted review than their U.K. counterparts (40% versus 23%).
  • 43% of larger companies surveyed use technology assisted review, compared with 32% of mid-sized companies and 23% of the smaller companies.
  • Of those companies utilizing technology assisted review, 21% use it in all of their matters and 51% use it for half or more of their matters.

There are plenty more interesting stats and trends in the report, which is free(!).  To download your own copy of the report, click here.

So, what do you think?  Do any of those trends surprise you?  Please share any comments you might have or if you’d like to know more about a particular topic.

Disclaimer: The views represented herein are exclusively the views of the author, and do not necessarily represent the views held by CloudNine Discovery. eDiscoveryDaily is made available by CloudNine Discovery solely for educational purposes to provide general information about general eDiscovery principles and not to provide specific legal advice applicable to any particular circumstance. eDiscoveryDaily should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a lawyer you have retained and who has agreed to represent you.