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Market-Influencing Litigation Trends 2021 – Experts’ Opinions
With drastic changes that we have witnessed since the pandemic in 2020, the legal sector had to undergo some significant transformations in its operations to meet the new challenges in litigation. In fact, many law firms specializing in litigation are increasing their reliance on litigation support services in order to deal with a continuously growing workload.
Legal firms have become technologically advanced in their operations but are a step behind in meeting the settlement of the pending cases. With increased video hearings, online mediations, and arbitrations, a general trend has been observed that most parties prefer an out-of-the-court settlement, as it is more feasible and cost-effective. In addition, there has been a significant change in ADR (Alternative dispute resolution) with a major shift of offline mediations and arbitrations to online ones.
Hearings have become smoother, cheaper, and more convenient – paperless with minimum travel expenses and a minimum attendance of witnesses in the courtroom daily. Therefore, to learn more, let’s read what experts say on this topic.
Experts’ Views on Market-Changing Trends in Litigation in 2021
Troy Doucet, Loanlawyer
We expect that the foreclosure moratoriums to continue to significantly depress litigation against homeowners facing missed payments.
We do not expect foreclosure litigation to resume until the fall, at the soonest. Bank lawsuits against businesses suffering under Covid-19 will likely increase significantly.
We saw a lot of posturing mid-2020 only to have banks push off business debt lawsuits into 2021. This will likely pick up Q3 of 2021.
Our colleagues are reporting lower numbers of personal injury cases and workers’ compensation, so litigation will also be depressed. I’m not sure who might be filing more lawsuits in 2021, although we are seeing homeowners’ associations filing foreclosures at similar 2020 numbers, as well as real estate tax lawsuits. Similarly, debt buyers do not seem to stop filing and will probably pick up mid-2021 filing lawsuits over old unsecured debts.
Also Read: Problems to Solve: Top 8 Challenges of Personal Injury Lawyers
ChereEstrin (CEO), Estrin Legal Staffing
The litigation field has already changed substantially since COVID. Then, attorneys were always reticent to allow any time for remote work whatsoever.They truly believed that if their documents were not within arms’ reach, they had no control over what was done.
What’s also changing are the roles of attorneys, paralegals, and legal assistants. The paralegal role is now frequently combined with the legal assistant (secretary). This move is because attorneys are capturing more of the work as they work remotely. They are entering their timeslips, expense reports and do not need secretaries to fax, scan, or book travel. That leaves less work for the legal assistant. By combining the roles, law firms can also increase revenue as they can bill for more projects. They could not bill the client if a legal assistant performed the assignment, only the paralegal.
What’s also changing is the use of video/remote for depositions, formerly frowned upon, client meetings, and court appearances. It is not likely that the legal system will return to what it was as working remotely saves time and money, and most firms are now convinced it is a viable way to practice law. The amount of real estate a law firm takes is also changing. Gone are the huge partner offices. Instead, the law firm of the future is likely to have offices that are shared on a rotating basis as more lawyers work remotely and the firm no longer needs as much space.
Matthew S. Lott J.D.,Lott Law Firm
Litigation has been moving away from jury trials for many years, but COVID has accelerated the decline. Jury Trials in 2020 have been almost non-existent. Jury trials in limited jurisdictions have gone forward, but in the large majority of jurisdictions, jury trials have been postponed into 2021.
Any cases that can be resolved with court need both sides pulling in the same direction, but if one side wants to stonewall, then Covid has been a good excuse. Large class actions that operate mostly on motion practice and limited depositions seem to be moving along towards resolution. Non-jury trials have been held due to quarantine or when litigants, judges, or lawyers test positive.
Smaller cases with less exposure in the virus sense but also less liability exposure for both sides is better positioned to move forward towards resolution. Personal injury has taken a hit for 2020, and contracts, employment, and health law have seen an increase in demand.Personal injury will bounce back for 2021, as will other areas continue in demand.
Also Read: How is Coronavirus Affecting the Legal Industry?
Ted Kaplun, Kaplun Marx
The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown a major wrench into litigation through 2020 and will undoubtedly extend into 2021. From the point of view of a personal injury trial attorney, the importance of pushing a case forward to jury trial continues to be of utmost importance.The ability to get to a jury trial is the ultimate hammer that provides leverage for a plaintiff.
Jury trials have been all but wiped out from the last calendar year and will likely continue through 2021, creating a massive backlog of cases. Judges hate backlogs. A solution we see more and more is a push to place matters into ADR, or alternative dispute resolution, to try and fast-track some matters that may be able to be resolved without the need of a full-blown trial.
There are many qualified mediators and arbitrators – usually well-respected former Judges or lawyers who have the respect of both plaintiff and defense sides. The trend of moving cases from litigation into ADR is a consideration that plaintiff attorneys must weigh, explaining the potential cost/benefits of the systems to our clients to make an informed decision. 2021 and moving forward will be an interesting time as a personal injury lawyer; being prepared to exhaust all options in getting a client will continue to be our number one priority.
Peter Horne, Geoff McDonald and Associates
Something that law firms can expect as a result of emerging and ongoing litigation trends is the potential for new firms to get a spot in the limelight.
There’s no doubt that, especially in the legal industry, there is a bias towards well-established firms, even if some of those firms have been producing mediocre results.
As the spending within the legal industry increases, various departments are going to be forced to look to smaller and/or newer firms. This will have a number of ripple effects. Firstly, it may expose some firms’ performance and result in less attention, or they’ll put in more effort to remain competitive. Secondly, people will start to see the value of opting for smaller, more focused firms. And lastly, overall attention will be distributed more evenly across established and up-and-coming firms.
Darcy Cudmore, Darcy Allan PR
“Employment litigation will be in high demand in 2021 because of the changing world that has carried over from 2020. Issues will arise from remote work, recent shut-down orders, potential furloughs, layoffs, and much more. Employees might believe that employers are breaching their employment contract, along with a ton of other things from the recent changes in our society.
Legal professionals will see a rise in these cases and will have to work on them in an ever-changing world. Lawyers will have to be proactive, adaptable, and innovative so they can progress with new cases, keep things moving forward, and doing their part for their clients.
2021 is becoming one of the most crucial and busy years, battling with the aftermath of the pandemic in 2020. With most service sectors going online for smoother, cheaper, and faster delivery, the litigation services and relevant functions might stick to a similar trend with a massive rise in a virtual out-of-court settlement of disputes. However, with digitization influencing the legal sector, law firms lacking the resources to adopt this big move may seek litigation support professionals. This can result in quick and smooth completion of litigation projects cost-effectively, taking less turnaround time.
At Cogneesol, our legal experts follow and analyze the latest legal industry trends; keeping the same in consideration, we produce practical, customizable, and affordable solutions for our clients comprising lawyers, law firms, and legal departments across the globe.
We are best at easing off our clients’ caseload and the burden of various other legal day-to-day jobs. To learn about result-oriented solutions suitable to your needs, please feel free to reach out to us for a consultation at +1 646 688 2821 or send an email at [email protected].
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