The COVID-19 global pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of society, including the courts. Across the country, federal and state courts have limited public access, suspended trials, and switched to holding hearings by phone or just deciding matters on the papers. Meanwhile, law firms large and small have also had to alter the way they work as clients cope with disruption and brace for an expected recession.

Amid these shifts, data suggest that new civil filings in U.S. district courts have also been impacted. Using the federal court data that powers’s Legal Radar, we set out to examine how business litigation is faring during this time of uncertainty. The analysis shows that the pace of new filings has tapered nationally since the pandemic was declared and new cases are also down compared to the same period last year.

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