What Will it Cost? Paying Close Attention to the Economics of Litigation – A View From Outside Counsel

May 30, 2013

Rochester Business Journal
May 17, 2013

“Cost budgeting is a critical and necessary exercise for any party engaged in civil litigation. When the topic is broached by in-house counsel, however, the reaction from their outside counsel counterparts can range from guarded acknowledgement to indifference. Corporate legal departments are facing significantly increased pressure to reduce legal expenses, yet outside counsel are often uncomfortable with or ill-equipped to adapt to this reality. “What is it going to cost?” is a question that can and should be answered – without wholesale qualification or equivocation – at the outset of any legal assignment.

The time-worn responses “Litigation is expensive,” “It’s difficult to predict given the vagaries of litigation,” or “It depends…” are unacceptable today. While litigation is a dynamic process and not always predictable, such broad pronouncements do not excuse one from committing to a strenuous and strategic analysis of likely cost and then sticking to a budget. A good commercial litigator with a strong command of the facts and the law is well equipped to provide in-house counsel with a much more definitive response to the question “What will it cost?”

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