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Bar News - March 13, 2009

U.S. Litigation Rose Nine Percent in 2008

Increase in Lawsuits over Antitrust, Employment and Product Safety

Litigation in United States federal courts rose nine percent in the past year, buoyed by a growing number of disputes related to employment matters, antitrust and product safety, according to the 2009 edition of the Law360 Litigation Almanac.

Highlights from the Almanac:

· Class actions hit a new peak in 2008.

· The economic crisis sparked a surge in corporate bankruptcy filings in 2008.

· Antitrust filings grew at a rate of 27 private plaintiffs firms closely tracked government investigations and prosecutions.

· The number of federal environmental lawsuits filed in 2008 rose for the first time since 2005.

· The number of intellectual property lawsuits declined 11 percent in 2008, thanks largely to a drop-off in copyright litigation instigated by the recording industry.

· Employment litigation rose six percent in 2008, marking a reversal in the gradual decline in employment litigation seen over the previous four years.

· A series of high-profile product recalls...helped bolster product liability filings by 20 percent in 2008 compared with the previous year.

· Securities litigation fell eight percent in 2008. But [when] financial markets and titans collapse[d] at breakneck speed in the summer and fall of 2008, securities attorneys [prepared] for a wave surfers can only dream about…

· In real estate practices, previously dominated by transactional work, much of the legal work now stems from buyers backing out of deals, loans failing to come through and lenders seeking to foreclose.

· Tax litigation remains stable but low, with the majority of disputes settling administratively.

For more information about the almanac, including the table of contents and the methodology, and for full rankings of 360 law firms, consult the 2009 Law360 Litigation Almanac, available at


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