Many trial attorneys offer litigation management to their clients as part of a standard claims service that they provide. A majority of the latest as well as the greatest risk management information systems incorporate a litigation management module as a part of their suite of offerings. While the above sounds very catchy and important, the question still remains – what is litigation management and what does it constitute?
Original Concept of Litigation Management
Originally, the term “litigation management” was used to refer to a collection of initiatives that were intended towards controlling legal costs. Efforts were made to keep the adjusters in control of their claims even after litigation was initiated, so that the adjusters, and not the attorneys, were the people to decide on whether to settle the case or litigate. To bring litigation to a conclusion by means of mediation or arbitration, alternative dispute resolution (ADR) was introduced. This helped in avoiding lengthy as well as costly litigation procedures.
There is much confusion regarding the definition of litigation management. This is because different people consider the term differently. A risk manager or a claims adjuster might consider it in a particular way, whereas the legal community has a completely different meaning to it. To attorneys, litigation management is the process of collecting and organizing a huge amount of information that is associated with their litigated case. They need to assemble all the data gathered during the discovery process in a particular way so that they can be fit together to be logically presented in the trial.
Currently, various software systems have been developed to manage complex cases that involve several defendants, multiple jurisdictions, or mass torts. These systems are designed in such a way that they can intake large amounts of data, which can then be stored, sorted, and accessed at any time by multiple authorized parties. They are also capable of weeding out the redundant process so that the review of the case materials can be more efficient.
Evolution of Litigation Management
In the world of claims management, the meaning of litigation management has gone through a continuous process of change. One of the areas that had major alterations is the scrutiny of legal bills. In earlier times, adjusters used to review the bills to ensure that the alterations corresponded with the correct cases. Now, an entire industry has developed around the auditing of legal bills.
Litigation is a very expensive business, and if not managed properly, clients can end up with exorbitant legal costs. Currently, several firms provide excellent litigation management services. Certain firms are more expensive but work efficiently, resulting in a final billed amount that is lower than those firms with low hourly rates who inflate their hours. The key to great service lies in finding quality firms that accept standardized billing protocols, which helps in keeping legal costs under control while keeping claim costs down through outstanding litigation results.