Cash-rich funders; conflict-free boutiques; class actions aplenty. While some predict another economic downturn on the horizon, providing an uptick in conventional litigation work, these themes have defined the more eye-catching disputes of the past year. Add to the mix an increase in cyber-related litigation and accusations of fraud and regulatory missteps against some of the leading firms’ key institutional clients, and a kinetic disputes scene emerges.
Many of these developments are US imports, particularly class actions and a more aggressive approach to accusations of fraud. These US-style claims are often being pursued by disputes boutiques increasingly allying themselves with external funders. As a result, the stranglehold City bluebloods have over big-ticket litigation has loosened, while some feel only two or three of the smaller players are of sufficient quality to cause real disruption (see our boutiques report).