More than 90% of companies continue to rely heavily on early case assessment with the help of outside counsel to contain costs and manage class action risk. As companies see an increase in the volume of class action matters and related exposure, they lean on outside counsel for a variety of early case assessment tasks and planning. While many companies have routinely used outside counsel to assess case facts and exposure and develop strategy, in this year’s 2019 Carlton Fields Class Action Survey, more companies report relying on outside counsel for an early assessment of win-loss probability — more than double the number reported in 2017. Nearly three-quarters of corporate counsel report that they use outside counsel to analyze the facts of the case.
Approximately 96% of responding companies reported that they now rely on a small group of outside counsel to handle class actions rather than a single firm or a large group of firms. This reflects a significant increase from the 73% reported in 2016. Only 2.1% of companies use one law firm to handle class action work, compared to 16.2% in 2016. Thirty-five percent of companies use one firm in a supervisory role.