A brainchild of Brackett Denniston, the General Counsel of General Electric, is the so-called early-dispute-resolution program. According to Corp. Bd. Mbr., Vol. 11, July/Aug. 2008 at 76, “it has saved GE hundreds of millions of dollars in just three years — a figure that will grow to ‘billions saved, ultimately’”. The program measures litigation cost and impact and tries to reduce both by early case analysis and earlier dispute resolution (See my post Feb. 23, 2008 – ECA and 8 references.)
Denniston observes in the article that when you settle a dispute promptly you save your company on collateral damage, on frayed relationships, and on the burden litigation places on leadership. He is correct, but that does not make it easy to estimate the savings from prompt decisions about litigation.
Show us the methodology by which GE calculates those billions of dollars saved. If it holds up, all law departments who adopt these practices will be instant heroes in their companies and law firms in the US will wither.