Up and Coming Legal Careers: Litigation Management
Given the highly litigious nature of the United States, the development of careers centered on the management of litigation is no surprise. Litigation managers are primarily responsible for the overall management of lawsuits on behalf of and against an organization. One of the main roles of a litigation manager is to counsel the company on ways to limit and control litigation exposure and cost. After all, litigation is, by far, the largest expense item for virtually every corporate legal office. Other duties include:
- interviewing and selecting outside counsel
- actively directing retained outside counsel, including strategizing the litigation
- assisting outside counsel in trial preparation, including case staffing, witness preparation and other activities
- managing the course of litigation to minimize legal costs and organizational exposure
- monitoring, critiquing, and correcting outside counsel performance
- auditing/assessing outside counsel billing, fees, litigation performance, and guideline compliance
- reviewing, evaluating, negotiating, and settling non-litigated matters and claims
- working with insurance carriers on successful resolution of covered claims and lawsuits
- preparing legal documents related to claims (releases, stipulations, etc.)
- advising management as to best practices and avoidance of professional liability exposures, and drafting organizational policies to accomplish this
- reviewing marketing materials and internal documents to avoid legal exposures
- collecting and analyzing data on the organization’s case handling and management
- developing and maintaining litigation management tools, including software
Litigation managers traditionally work for insurance companies, where the role initially started many years ago. More recently, however, they have been retained by corporations—particularly those that are burdened with a large number of lawsuits (such as pharmaceuticals, construction engineering firms, and manufacturers). Large CPA firms also employ litigation managers for their clients and a handful of law firms have subsidiaries that provide litigation management services.
Most litigation managers are experienced commercial litigators who know how to evaluate the costs and benefits of litigating versus settling a case, but who also have some business background or sense, as well as a facility with numbers. JD/CPAs and JD/MBAs are very attractive to employers of litigation managers. The addition of the joint degree may also have a bearing on compensation.
More information can be found on the website of The Council on Litigation Management (http://www.litmgmt.org/), a professional association for litigation managers.
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