Litigation Portfolio Management

The concept of litigation portfolio management involves a lawyer or law firm viewing a group of litigation cases as a whole as opposed to considering cases one by one.

Doing so means the lawyer or law firm can see the forest for the trees.  In other words, the lawyer is looking at the big picture of the litigation environment as opposed to the individual case.

Institutional clients such as insurance companies are historically very good at litigation portfolio management.  And it pays off big time by improving settlements and outcomes across the portfolio.

Institutional clients are easily able to implement strong litigation portfolio management practices because of the continuity of a single client with a multitude of litigation.  Litigation law firms can enhance individual client outcomes by implementing the following basic litigation portfolio management techniques:

  1. Adopt firm-wide strategies and policies on how to deal with similar litigation.  For example, a common plaintiff practice is to set all cases down for trial immediately following examinations for discovery, no matter what.
  2. Adopt firm-wide strategies and policies concerning settlement offers.  A common defence practice is to only consider a positive settlement offer after examinations for discovery are complete and undertakings fulfilled.
  3. Adopt firm-wide strategies and policies to address trial decision-making.  The early identification of cases well-suited for trial can place those cases on a trial track that results in them being advanced to trial no matter what if a rule 49 offer is not accepted.
  4. Educate firm staff on the firm-wide trial and litigation strategies and implement those strategies through organizational policies.
  5. Explain the concept of litigation portfolio management to the client and how the litigation firm’s past practices and successes relate to the client’s particular file.  This helps keep the client involved in and understanding of the advantages of the law firm’s overall strategy.


This article is courtesy of the Ontario Civil Trial Manual

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