Management of litigation, like management of most business processes, begins with a business plan and a budget. In this case, prior to trial, when a company seeks an appropriate law firm to represent it, it needs a realistic litigation plan and budget. Of course, some law firms may try to push back on the request of a budget, claiming legal costs are hard to predict. This, usually is not the case. Experienced lawyers, whether in the United States, Europe, or Asia, are very familiar with the legal costs in their own geographic region as well as costs and expenses associated with the particular issue, such as patent litigation or class actions.
Certain costs may be hard to quantify, such as defense litigation costs (which may depend on how aggressive a plaintiff is in trial), but for the most part, law firms can provide a litigation plan and budget using approximate or ballpark figures. Many of the larger law firms are experienced in providing budgets upon request. Don't be afraid to ask.
Effective management of litigation will depend on a well-prepared litigation plan and budget. This, in turn, depends on the proper identification of potential litigation issues and a plan for potentially adversarial proceedings.
Questions that should be asked when discussing the plan and budget with outside counsel include:
• Is this matter an actual or potentially adversarial proceeding?
• Will this matter result in potential commercial litigation?
• Will this matter result in potential regulatory litigation?
• Will this matter lead to governmental litigation?
Asking the right questions will help in preparing a realistic and effective litigation plan and budget.