Leading litigation funder Burford Capital, has recently published its findings from an independent survey of GCs across the world.  Burford carried out one-to-one interviews earlier this year, asking GCs from a range of sectors their views on litigation, costs and funding – the report is available here.

The uncertain economic times we are all facing is no longer news but the survey’s findings on GCs’ thinking on the practical implications – especially where legal spend is concerned – is thought provoking to say the least. 

The survey reports that “Nearly 3 in 4 (74%) senior in-house lawyers expect to see an increase in the volume of disputes over the next two years because of the current geopolitical, economic and regulatory environment”. 

Whilst the survey is global, London’s position as a preferred destination for high value, complex litigation, inevitably means some proportion of that increase hitting UK Courts – where litigation costs are under increasingly close scrutiny.  For businesses already seeing tighter controls on spend across the board -– from payroll and operating costs to legal budgets – the anticipated uptick in disputes, with their associated time and financial costs presents a very real concern. 

Those of us who are involved in disputes know that they are rarely desired but are often commercially necessary, if not fundamental, to the ongoing success of the client.  As economic pressures increase therefore, clients looking for the resources to invest in business-critical litigation will increasingly turn to their preferred law firms for guidance, support and collaboration.

One of the central messages in Burford’s report is therefore that many firms will need to change how they approach legal financing given the already changing landscape.  The survey makes clear, as one participant puts it, that “the billable hour no longer serves [businesses] well”. 

At Burges Salmon, where we are already sharing the financial risks (and rewards) of litigation with clients, we know that there is no ‘one-size fits all’ approach to an alternative fee structure, and we work hard to ensure that whatever we offer to clients fits in with their commercial and financial needs and objectives.  If you are interested in knowing more about how we can work with you to build a bespoke litigation funding arrangement that fits your requirements, do drop us a line.