Social Survey

Social media use among in-house counsel is at an all-time high, according to the latest installment of the In-House Counsel New Media Engagement Survey, conducted by InsideCounsel, Greentarget and Zeughauster Group. LinkedIn remains the most popular professional networking site, but Wikipedia use was also on the rise. Keep reading for more survey results:

73% Respondents who use social media tools

67% In-house counsel who used LinkedIn for professional reasons within the past day or week

65% Respondents who reported using Wikipedia for company and industry research

53% In-house counsel who said that the quality of a law firm’s blog would influence their hiring decisions

53% Respondents who read general business media on their smartphones, up from 42 percent last year

Climbing Class Actions

Many general counsel have added class actions related to consumer fraud and privacy issues to their list of worries. Nearly half of GCs and CLOs at more than 300 companies predicted an increase in such suits—and a corresponding increase on the money spent defending against them—in a study conducted by Carlton Fields. The expected increase may be attributable to recent news reports about corporate data breaches and food labeling lawsuits.

45% Respondents who predicted that consumer fraud and privacy suits will be the “next wave” of class actions, up from 15 percent one year ago

14% Drop in the amount that companies spent annually per class action in 2012

$3.3 million Amount that companies expect to spend defending class actions this year, up from $3.2 million in 2012

In-Demand IP

The year isn’t getting off to a stellar start for most law firm lawyers. A new report from the Peer Monitor Index reveals that in the first quarter of 2013 the overall demand for legal services from law firms fell, along with the demand for most major practice areas. The one exception? Intellectual property specialists found themselves in high demand, likely owing to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s recent switch from a first-to-invent to a first-to-file patent system.

-3.4% Drop in the demand for overall legal services in the first quarter of 2013

-9% Drop in the demand for labor and employment work during the same period

-3.7% Decline in demand for general litigation attorneys during the same period

5.1% Increase in the need for intellectual property patent work

Trademark Tips

If your company is seeking to win trademark approval, it would be well-advised to hire a trademark attorney, a new study by the University of North Carolina Law School suggests. Although many large companies such as McDonald’s Corp. and Xerox Corp. succeeded without counsel—perhaps because they most likely have access to in-house or outside counsel prior to filing their applications—most applicants were more likely to win approval if they engaged the services of a trademark attorney, particularly an experienced one.

60% Overall trademark approval rate for applicants without counsel (pro se applicants)

82% Overall trademark approval rate for applicants with counsel

68% Approval rate for the clients of attorneys with fewer than 10 total trademark filings

81% Approval rate for pro se applicants with 30 or more filings

Merger Madness

The Obama administration has gained a reputation—fairly or unfairly—for being tough on big mergers and acquisitions. And indeed, the number of government challenges to M&As rose during the 2012 fiscal year, according to a recent joint report from the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division. Although companies submitted fewer deals for antitrust review in FY 2012 than they did in the 2007 fiscal year, the number of deals was up significantly from the economically challenging 2009 fiscal year.

44 Deals the agencies challenged during the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2012

19% Increase in challenges between 2011 and 2012

1,429 Proposed transactions that businesses reported during the 2012 fiscal year