Study Commissioned By Fasken Martineau's Litigation &
Dispute Resolution Group
Fasken Martineau commissioned an independent research firm,
Pollara Strategic Insights, to conduct a benchmarking survey of 300
in-house counsel and senior executives across Canada from companies
with 50 or more employees. The purpose of the study is
To develop an in-depth understanding of the current litigation
landscape in Canada;
To determine how many companies employ outside law firms and
how satisfied they are with their current firms; and,
To better understand what factors would cause companies to
switch outside legal firms.
Highlights From The Study
Contrary to the common view that Canada is not a litigious
country, the survey results show that over 40% of the respondents
have had at least one legal dispute commenced against their company
in the last year. Among the companies that were sued, the study
shows an average of 8.3 disputes per year.
The number of companies that have initiated a dispute is also
notable (29%). Among the companies that have initiated a dispute,
the average number of disputes they have commenced is four.
The clear majority of the respondents indicate that the level
of litigation has been steady in terms of the number of disputes
commenced against them and the number disputes that they have
initiated in the past year.
There are significant regional differences in the data.
Companies in Ontario and in the western provinces have seen the
greatest number of disputes commenced against them in contrast to
Québec and the Atlantic provinces. Companies in
Québec have filed the fewest number of disputes and
companies in Ontario have filed the greatest number.
Labour and employment related legal disputes followed by
contract, personal injury and product liability rank the highest on
the list of litigation concerns for companies in Canada in the
Satisfaction with the outside law firms employed by companies
for litigation is common across Canada, including over 50% who are
very satisfied and 44% who are somewhat satisfied. Satisfaction is
consistent across all regions.
While companies tend to be loyal to the firms they have chosen,
there are factors that would cause companies to switch legal
providers. Of the factors that would drive businesses to change
their current law firms, poor responsiveness and service are the
most noteworthy. The odds of switching law firms is higher when
their current firm fails to deliver on results and expertise, more
so than if a new firm is more capable in meeting these criteria.
Significantly, cost is the least important factor for companies
when it comes to switching outside law firms.
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