The return of our Disputes Yearbook finds the wider outlook for contentious work considerably changed over the last 12 months. The flood of disputes that were not so long ago carrying along pretty much all vessels has receded on both sides of the Atlantic. Limitation periods have dramatically slowed the flow of litigation linked to the banking crisis, while rising business confidence has turned the mind of executives to deal-doing rather than cleaning up old messes. It is a more challenging time for the run-of-the-mill disputes team.
Nevertheless, it remains a more-than-respectable environment in which to ply the services of high-end disputes shops. Even if the march of more proactive enforcement and regulation across many sectors has paused for breath, the long-term trends show no suggestion of abandoning the global-wide push towards a more regulated business environment. The creeping extension of corporate liability and the vogue for developing economies to start clamping down on at least the most flagrant corruption look set to continue for years to come.