At the outset of this series, I explicitly said that I am not implying that disputes in the world were declining, just that revenue to law firms from the litigation practice would decline.
But it never hurts to ask.
So again our good friends at Thomson Reuters said they might be able to come up with some data on the macro level of disputes and the have done just that. Caveat lector: What follows is not a substitute for exhaustive statistics, but because the result surprised me I have to share it with you.
I asked Thomson Reuters for data on 25 of the Fortune 50 corporations, which I selected with my thumb on the scale to try to tilt it towards companies that might attract more litigation than average. Thomson Reuters was able to produce raw data over the last five years (2012–2016 inclusive) showing all US federal court filings involving these firms as a party; the dataset also includes territories and all state courts that publish their dockets electronically (the vast majority).
I have condensed it into annual totals and also grouped the firms into industry sectors.
Here’s what I came up with:
A couple of observations: