A Q&A with Crowell & Moring Partner and Litigation Forecast Editor Mark Klapow
Last year, Mark Klapow asked fellow Crowell & Moring lawyers to step back from their dockets and bring together their collective experience to help corporate counsel understand the most relevant litigation trends and how they would likely play out in the coming year. No one at the firm imagined the reception our inaugural report would receive. Clients and the media entered into a dynamic conversation with us about the litigation challenges facing corporations in and out of the courtroom. This year, Crowell & Moring releases its second edition of the report, the 2014 Litigation Forecast. We interview Mark for an insider's look.
Q: Mark, the standout story in this report is the look at jurisdictional trends. Why is this topic so relevant for corporate counsel?
A. Litigation strategy must take into consideration the record of the court with similar issues and time to disposition. Those are essential pieces of the cost/benefit analysis in every matter. The litigation budget, to cite an obvious example, is heavily impacted by the state of our courts. In an atmosphere of sequestration, cuts, and gridlock over new appointments, some courts slowed down this year. Others continued at their prior pace. We wanted to see the numbers and to give our clients the real time data and thought leadership to make decisions based on more than just anecdotes or reputations that may be out of date. Things are changing too fast to not have the facts.
Q: What's new this year?
A: All of our stories are fresh this year, and that's the point. So much is changing so quickly, and our clients need current information in real time. In addition to sharing the latest information from core areas such as class actions and antitrust, we add a spotlight on several industries and new focus areas in tax, advertising, and insurance. All of these areas are playing out in the courts, but they are also heavily impacted by what's happening in Washington. The impact of Washington on litigation is a theme we're going to see more and more of. It's not going anywhere.
Q: Why the industry spotlights?
A: We broadened the coverage this year to include special industry focuses, like health care, energy, and financial services. We don't have enough space in the report to cover all of the industries where Crowell & Moring has experience, but we selected a few that represent the kinds of high-impact trends impacting so many businesses today. Litigation is becoming more focused and more complex, and meaningful conversations about strategy in many areas require in-depth industry knowledge. That knowledge can greatly supplement experience in substantive areas of law and bring about sophisticated and creative solutions.
Q: What is the hope for this second edition of Litigation Forecast?
A: First and foremost, our report is a piece of intelligence for our clients. It's a starting point for a conversation about what the trends mean for them specifically. However, we are also very pleased to hear from colleagues and even competitors, who benefit from our analysis. It's rewarding to know that, as an ancillary benefit of Litigation Forecast, we give companies another tool to help keep their businesses thriving and growing. This speaks to our firm brand as both substantive thought leaders and innovators in client service.