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An inverse relationship between the amount of litigation and the amount of regulation

This leader to an article caught my eye: “In markets with little regulation, litigation soars.  As regulation rises, litigation falls. Unless consumers are bound by so-called tort reform, their only recourse when harmed by an unregulated product is to sue its maker.” The quotation comes from Life Science Leader, December 2012 at 44.

Those who speak and write about law departments chronically bemoan the regulatory load faced by companies.  But when rules are laid down by government agencies, at least safe harbors and legislatively-sanctioned behaviors shelter companies from lawsuits in those areas.  In an unregulated market, the free-for-all companies might have fewer forms to complete but many more briefs to file.

Of course, everyone can think of exceptions and regulations can fan the fires of litigation, but the overall point bears on benchmark metrics and differences between industries.

Even deeper, for those who care about how to accurately quantify law department metrics, is the question of how to “measure” regulatory load.


To learn how you stack up against others in your industry, take the GC Metrics 2013 benchmark survey.  Here is the URL:  It’s free, quick, and you will get five Releases.  The survey asks for six of your 2012 figures: number of lawyers, paralegals, and other staff; inside and external legal spend; and revenue.


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