My notion of a dormant lawsuit is one where billings are trivial during any quarter. If nothing much has happened for three months, the case has gone into hibernation. During one of my consulting projects, the head litigation lawyer estimated that of the company’s lawsuits then pending, “about 97 percent of them are dormant.” That quiescent percentage seems much too high, but I have seen no data elsewhere from other law departments. Many of the cases for that particular company were legacy and had been hanging around for years.
As I have mentioned, it seems foolish to try to reduce cycle time on cases – close the tap – where spending is but an infrequent drip (See my post of May 23, 2007 on reduction of cycle time.).