The Siren Song of Motions for Summary Judgment

Quick quiz.  Do you know what per centage of your company’s motions for summary judgment (MSJ) are granted? Do you know the average cost for bringing a MSJ?

I recently examined these questions for an insurer as part of a broader project I was engaged to do to identify the drivers of legal cost and ensure that the appropriate processes were in place to control those costs.  One of the drivers I identified was the costs of preparing and bringing MSJ.

In looking at the MSJ filed by the insurer’s outside attorneys in the past 5 years, I found that only 13% were successful.  Ironically, I also found that the average cost to bring a MSJ was almost equal to the insurer’s average legal costs in like cases in which MSJ were not filed over the same 5 year period of time.

As experienced litigation managers (and yes, even experienced defense counsel) know full well, MSJ are very seldom granted in tort liability cases.  So why are they filed? Continue reading

Legal Bill Auditing: Is it About The “Relationships” or Is it More About The “Bottom Line Performance”?

A friend who is an insurance defense attorney on the left coast wrote me yesterday for some advice. He said that he was asked to serve on a panel at an upcoming insurer industry meeting in California to discuss the topic “Legal Bill Auditing: Does it Help or Hurt Building Legal Relationships.” He wanted to know my thoughts my on how he should handle the question.

Here is what I wrote to him. Continue reading