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6 Litigation and Legal Industry Trends for 2023

What Your Clients Will Need This Year

Serving your clients involves offering legal services for their “business as usual,” their expected tasks. It’s also about being prepared to provide litigation and legal services for unexpected events. Every year, your clients will have new needs shaped by larger, country-wide, and global conditions. To support clients — and gain new ones — through 2023, it’s vital for law firms to offer legal services and up-to-date expertise in these seven key areas.

Trend #1 Cryptocurrency

During previous economic recessions and downturns, governments often refocus their priorities. The phenomenon usually brings extra oversight, scrutiny, and consequences to companies whose actions may have helped precipitate or expedite a recession or downturn. Governments want to protect their consumers and economy, and they’ll precipitate more lawsuits and investigations to achieve that goal. In the past, this often meant that companies in particular industries were especially likely to be targeted. For example, during the Great Recession, the SEC focused on companies in the housing and mortgage markets for their misconduct and misrepresentation toward consumers. In 2023, the new industry target appears to be cryptocurrency. These high-risk companies are currently under intense global investigation, including from the U.S. Department of Justice, the International Monetary Fund, the International Organization of Securities Commissions, and the UK’s government. Cryptocurrency has created severe negative economic consequences worldwide, and more regulation and scrutiny for these companies are on the way. Companies that have interests, or are interested in, cryptocurrency must also prepare to comply with new requirements for disclosure, paperwork, registration, etc. For prevention, it will be necessary for all companies with any cryptocurrency involvement to stay updated on the latest regulations and ensure compliance. Organizations may sometimes have to consider whether disclosing potential violations is better to avoid painful consequences later. Because many countries and regulating bodies are creating their own (sometimes conflicting) cryptocurrency regulations, businesses and their lawyers may need legal translation services and legal interpretation services to help them complete paperwork, handle multilingual arbitration, review relevant laws, interact with regulating bodies, etc.

Law books

Trend #2 Employment law

Particularly for companies with employees in the U.S., employment law will likely see a boost -- especially in litigation. This uptick will occur for two main reasons. Firstly, many employers and employees are still navigating a return to work after the pandemic. Workplace safety, remote work, wage disputes, and other concerns are still being addressed. Some of these concerns have been delayed by a backed-up legal system and are just being addressed this year, while others will be new. Employers may face legal disputes and regulatory consequences regarding employees’ rights, which vary from state to state. Companies may be held responsible for meeting (or not meeting) new employment requirements based on where their remote employees work. The second factor to drive growth in employment law in 2023 will be a potential recession or economic downturn. The World Bank warns that a global recession is coming in 2023 and 2024. Companies in every country are familiar with the link between layoffs and lawsuits, firing, and other dismissals. Former employees are more likely to sue for wrongful dismissal, unpaid overtime or wages, sexual harassment, and other breaches of their employment rights. The consequences of employment lawsuits and legal action can be devastating, and companies should prepare for more employment law-oriented challenges in 2023. To ensure legal compliance, they may want to consider working with a lawyer or HR experts to ensure compliance as a preventative measure.

Trend #3 Intellectual property

Historically, recessions and economic downturns tend to inspire either the creation of new businesses or new offerings from existing businesses. Challenging markets require creative new solutions to tempt clients and customers. Frequently, people who are laid off or having trouble finding work may try building their own businesses. Another reason is that “patent troll litigation” increases as companies under duress try to sell off their patents. Lawyers who help with intellectual property law matters will be more in demand if a 2023 or 2024 recession or downturn comes to pass, as many predict. Companies and individuals will need more assistance with registering their new businesses, as well as their patents. They may also need help protecting their intellectual property -- or themselves in contention over infringement.

Trend #4 Sanctions

In 2023 and potentially into 2024, businesses and individuals may need legal protection and consultation to help them prevent, report, and handle the consequences of, violations. The EU, U.S., UK, and UN all have varying sanctions laws and rules. Some countries, like the U.S., are notably taking a harder line with sanctions rules to strengthen their foreign policy. Companies and individuals will benefit from working with law firms to assist them at all stages of prevention, including developing company policies, assessing risk, and implementing training. They’ll also need lawyers to help if they need to report a potential violation or are investigated or charged for a violation. As with cryptocurrency regulation, sanctions compliance may require multilingual legal tasks. A business and its lawyers may require legal translation or legal interpreting services to keep up with requirements, paperwork, and legal action from multiple countries or regulatory organizations.

Judge completing paperwork

Trend #5 Pandemic aid violations

During the pandemic, governments, especially in the U.S., created various aid programs to assist businesses. In the next couple of years, the last of these aid programs will be slowly phased out. With less acute problems created by the pandemic and the end of the programs, governments will bring their attention to potential abuses of these aid programs. For example, in the U.S., a special inspector general position has been created to investigate and punish organizations that misused pandemic relief funds. Businesses will need legal assistance to handle audits and charges of misconduct and waste or misuse of these pandemic aid funds.

Trend #6 Individuals and companies responsible for a recession or downturn

After the dot-com bubble and mortgage bubbles burst in the U.S., the SEC and DOJ in the U.S. went after the companies responsible for the resultant recessions and downturns. If there’s a recession or downturn in 2023 and 2024, the U.S. government will likely go after both individuals and companies that may be responsible. The SEC and DOJ have made it clear that (in a somewhat recent development) they’ll be targeting individual actors in some companies that have been particularly reckless about consumer protections. This legal action will likely focus on high-risk industries, like cryptocurrency companies. These businesses have been widely criticized for their spectacular collapses and severe impact on consumers in recent years. Companies and individuals in senior leadership will need legal assistance as they face investigations and charges for financial misconduct.

Get in touch

Need help supporting your clients this year? Lionbridge offers fast, reliable, top-tier legal translation and legal interpretation services. With over 25 years of experience, you can trust us with your multilingual arbitration, paperwork, e-Discovery, and more. We’ll help you ensure your clients maintain legal compliance and confidently handle any multilingual legal action they encounter in 2023 and beyond. Contact us today.

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