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Litigation has historically been a dirty word within corporate legal departments: It connotes added risk, distraction and expense, conjuring fears of budget-busting costs and broken bottom lines. But affirmative litigation—when it is meritorious and successful—can return significant value (and cash!) to businesses. Starting well over a decade ago, forward-looking legal departments at some of the world’s largest companies began to institute affirmative recovery programs, leading to impressive value generation.

New research from Burford Capital suggests, however, that many companies still fail to pursue meritorious claims because of their fear of adding risk and expense to the bottom line. Moreover, many companies don’t even recover or enforce judgments they’ve spent good money to win, with a majority of companies reporting that they leave over $10 million of judgment awards unrecovered every year (more on that below).

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