It’s a wonderful time (for US litigation)

It’s the hap-happiest season of all, say litigators in New York and Washington. Why is it the most wonderful time, The Lawyer asks? It’s not because it’s nearly Christmas and there’ll be parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting or caroling out in the snow.

No, it’s because it’s a wonderful time to be a litigator. Business is roaring – a pick-up reflected in 2012’s financial results. No more scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of slow years long, long ago in this song.

“A wave of litigation has come out of the financial crisis and will take several years to ebb through the system,” says one US partner in The Lawyer’s latest Top 50 litigation firms list. “Regulatory pressure on our client base has increased, which has increased the number of investigations.”

There is other stuff out there too. Mark Cuban’s win in a costly insider trading complaint brought by the SEC, advised by Brown Rudnick, Latham & Watkins and Cooley, is one example of the type of work that has poured in. Firms are acting fast to pick up work, with Herbert Smith Freehills bringing in Cooley’s financial litigation head Scott Balber to establish a US corporate crime and investigation practice in October.

You’ll have to wait until next week to get the full nitty-gritty in The Lawyer’s latest Global Top 50 Litigation list (see last year’s report), and to read what clients have to say on the subject of litigation costs.

It might just leave litigation hearts glowing slightly less warmly.

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