Our Annual Litigation Trends Survey reveals that risks and evolving regulation around technology and cybersecurity dominate corporate counsel concerns, as mounting cyberattacks and a patchwork of data privacy laws deepen litigation exposure for organizations.
At the same time, rapid developments in artificial intelligence (AI) have contributed to cybersecurity risk and increased intellectual property (IP) risks, with regulators moving to develop new policies around AI as the dramatic growth of generative AI tools like ChatGPT outpaces existing legal frameworks.
The findings also show that organizations faced more regulatory proceedings in 2023 compared to the previous year. Class actions around securities and bank and financial fraud are also on the rise, while environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues pose a growing concern for both class actions and litigation more generally.
For 19 years, Norton Rose Fulbright’s Annual Litigation Trends Survey research has tracked changes and trends defining the litigation landscape, from dispute types and exposure to litigation preparedness and in-house legal staffing, by polling legal professionals at organizations of all sizes across key commercial sectors.
In September 2023, we surveyed more than 400 general counsel and in-house litigation leaders based in the United States and Canada in industries including financial services, technology, retail, healthcare, real estate and construction, energy, logistics and transportation, consumer markets, and food and beverage.
In addition, we conducted in-depth interviews with in-house counsel to supplement our quantitative survey data and guide our exploration of emerging trends and litigation challenges industry leaders are facing in 2024.
Key litigation trends
Cybersecurity and data protection
Forty percent of organizations saw their cybersecurity dispute exposure grow in 2023 as cyberattacks reached record levels.
In the wake of last year’s banking crisis, the share of organizations involved in bank or financial fraud class actions more than doubled, to 21% in 2023 from 9% in 2022.
AI is a leading contributor to both cybersecurity exposure and IP vulnerabilities, with roughly half of respondents saying that increased use of AI will grow their exposure.
Environmental, social and governance
One in 10 respondents experienced ESG-related litigation last year (compared to just 2 percent in 2022) – a development we anticipated in our 2023 report.
Regulation and investigations
A greater proportion of organizations were involved in regulatory proceedings in 2023 versus the previous year, with 61% of respondents involved in at least one.