Differences in cost discipline for amounts spent on litigation as plaintiff or as defendant?

A table in the 2005 California Bureau of State Audits’ review of LA’s Office of the City Attorney estimates the distribution of services provided by outside counsel to three entities (Dept. of Water and Power, LA Airports, and LA Harbor). Of the approximately $16.1 million they spent on outside counsel in the latest fiscal year, litigation comprised three-quarters (id at 6).

It was the basically even split between spending on plaintiff and defendant litigation that got me thinking. Law department metrics do not often separate the litigation spend, yet I can imagine that a law department will spend more as a plaintiff, if only because it has recommended bringing the lawsuit, because it has a chance to recover funds, and because its outside firm might be working on a contingent fee basis.

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