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Law department fees may grow in Europe, even if abating in the US (antitrust)

Even as some signs indicate outside counsel spending in the US might be coming under control, rumblings from Europe suggest that external legal costs over there will rise more rapidly. (See the Financial Times, June 16, 2005 at 9.)

A study by the UK law firm Ashurst, reported in the ABA Journal (Sept. 2005 at pg. 49), found that since 1960 antitrust lawsuits filed in the 25 nations that make up the European Union reached a total of 60. That 60 in 45 years compares to 752 antitrust suits filed in US courts in one year, 2004.

The article then states, ominously, that “more than 700 judges in various EU member nations are being trained this year to handle antitrust matters.” Expect legal costs for companies doing business in Europe to make up for some of the US reductions.