Frequent regulatory changes, rapid technological advancements and shifting societal pressures are not only influencing the types of cases litigators see in 2018, but how they try them as well. To gain a better understanding of how these emerging trends are shaping the Canadian litigation environment, the at Grant Thornton LLP surveyed Canadian litigators across the country in late 2017. The survey asked litigators to identify key drivers shaping litigation in Canada, their impact on the volume and types of cases being tried, and steps required to adapt to these trends.
Litigators expect an increase in litigation disputes
What we uncovered was truly eye-opening. For one, 54 percent of litigators interviewed expect the volume of litigation disputes to rise in 2018. While there were countless reasons for this, many believed heightened regulatory requirements impacting the C-suite would lead to an influx in white-collar cases, while others said an uptick in cybersecurity breaches could lead to more privacy-related class actions. The pending legalization of marijuana, which is scheduled to take effect on July 1, 2018, is also expected to result in more litigation.
With Artificial Intelligence (AI) comes new opportunities and challenges
When asked about how technology could affect litigators, 66 percent said forces such as artificial intelligence (AI) may either disrupt—or are already disrupting—legal processes. The vast majority—79 percent—had an optimistic view of such technologies, stating they would likely improve the quality of legal services offered in 2018 and beyond. Many also believe AI could potentially permanently alter the hourly billing model by dramatically simplifying the research process.
The survey also touched on opportunities to strengthen various existing areas of litigation, such as those surrounding white collar crime. Because most legal clients uncover corporate misconduct by accident, 52 percent of respondents believe implementing whistleblower programs with legal privilege could be one way to identify a greater number of cases.
To learn more about what our respondents had to say, and gain greater insight into these litigation topics and others,