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Litigation Cost Survey of Major Companies

Litigation Cost Survey of Major Companies is a research document on the costs of electronic discovery prepared by Lawyers for Civil Justice, Civil Justice Reform Group, and the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform a conference at Duke Law School in May 2010. This report was prepared for the Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States - the same body that crafted the amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

The survey made several key findings which are widely cited. 20 per cent of the Fortune 200 responded to the survey.

The study found that while average outside litigation costs nearly doubled between 2000 and 2008 (from $66 million to $115 million), inside litigation costs remained stable in the range of $16 to $18 million annually. The average percentage of litigation costs as a percentage of total revenues rose from 0.62% to 0.89%.

The survey also found that average outside litigation costs of all cases for which outside fees were at least $250,000 was between $1.6 and $2 million in the period between 2004 and 2008. A good ballpark figure to use to judge which cases at your firm are particularly big ones. In similar major closed cases discovery costs ranged from $400,000 to almost $3 million. The report notes that many discovery costs may go unmeasured because they are fixed factors - such as the systems infrastructure to preserve and collect data. 5 million pages were produced on average in the major cases.

Significantly the survey concluded that cost-shifting was rarely a factor in the cases in which large companies become in involved. "[O]ut of over 743 e-discovery disputes reported between 2004 and 2009, there was only one case where cost shifting was utilized to resolve a dispute."

My favorite figure from the report is the "ratio of 1,044 to 1" between document production pages and trial exhibit pages.

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