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Suppliers and partners contributing to costs of lawsuit?

The latest Corporate Legal Times survey of law department – law firm sentiment tucks in a curious statement. The article states (at 38): “If a client is under financial pressure and a lawsuit appears unfounded,” law firms may offer alternatives to hourly billing. Well, except for a litigation being “unfounded” I accept that possibility.

“Or, the author continues, “suppliers and business partners will be asked to contribute to the legal cost, since they stand to benefit as well.” Does this mean there are instances where a manufacturer, having a tough quarter, extracts contributions from its suppliers and joint venturers when the manufacturer sues a buyer for breach of contract? When has any company had another company – not an insurance carrier – carry some of the cost spears into battle? Litigation isn’t “coalition forces” in Iraq. But, perhaps I have missed an innovative way to reduce outside counsel spending – pass the buck to your buyers or sellers. After all, if you go out of business, they lose too.