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The average Fortune 500 lawsuit takes three years to resolve

A fascinating article by the President of eLawForum, John Henry, published in Met. Corp. Counsel, Vol. 16, Feb. 2008 at 28, draws on data from more than 20,000 cases. One conclusion is that US companies allow lawsuits to drag on too long, eating up costs. Earlier resolution would be much wiser (See my posts of Sept. 14, 2005: early case assessment (ECA) yields 20 percent cost savings; May 28, 2005: cycle time in federal civil court cases; Jan. 4, 2006: early case assessment spelled out; March 15, 2006: savings from ECA by DuPont; Jan. 15, 2006: Schering Plough and 80 percent known in 60 days; June 16, 2007: early case assessment and LexisNexis survey; July 27, 2007: alternative fee arrangements; Nov. 13, 2006: Eversheds pioneered ECA.).

Henry writes that “Fortune 500 corporations spend an average of three years to resolve litigation.” The accompanying chart shows a hockey-stick distribution of resolution times, with many cases resolved much faster but a few at the other end spiking up for years. It appears from the chart, however, that the median time to resolution might be closer to two years (See my two posts of Oct. 27, 2005 on data from Fulbright & Jaworski about “roughly half a year”; Dec. 10, 2005: cycle time reduction; and May 16, 2006: FMC reduces cycle time to less than 12 months.).