Following four years of decline, class action spending is up and is expected to continue to rise in 2016. In addition, more companies are facing class actions. Across industries and practice areas, class actions present legal departments with sizable risk. As the type and nature of these matters evolve, legal departments are devising better and more innovative ways to manage them.
The fifth annual Carlton Fields Class Action Survey continues to offer insight into the prevalence, cost, and type of class actions that companies face.
Our 2016 survey results from detailed interviews with general counsel or senior legal officers at 381 large companies operating in 25 industries. They shared thoughts and best practices on managing class actions and their associated risk. We trust that their valuable insights will, in turn, help your company and its legal department manage these lawsuits effectively and efficiently.
Spending on class actions is up after four years of decline. This marks an important turning point, and spending is projected to increase in 2016 as well.
Class Action Spending and Budgets
Class actions were one of the few areas of litigation where spending increased since our last survey. In 2016, companies spent a total of $2.1 billion on legal services...
Type and Frequency of Class Actions
Across industries, the number of surveyed companies facing at least one major class action rose from 53.8 to 60.6 percent, representing an increase of nearly 13 percent in 2016.
Exposure and Cost of Class Actions
Class actions can represent a wide range of financial exposure. Even within risk categories (from routine to bet-the-company) exposure levels vary dramatically.
How Companies Manage Class Actions
In-house legal teams dedicated to handling class actions average seven attorney and non-attorney professionals, an overall increase from 2014.
How Companies Approach Class Action Risk
On average, corporate counsel rank potential exposure as the most important variable when they assess class action risks. This is the third consecutive year that potential exposure...
Best Practices to Control Class Action Costs
Nearly all corporate counsel report performing some form of early case assessment on class actions. Nearly 67 percent describe outside counsel involvement in that process...
The Impact of Recent Class Action Rulings
As in prior years, the landmark decisions in Wal-Mart v. Dukes and AT&T v. Concepcion remain the top rulings that impact corporate counsel.