75 percent of attorneys at U.S. companies say a state’s lawsuit environment is likely to impact important business decisions at their company, including where to locate or expand according to a new survey released by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR). That is an 18 percent increase from eight years ago, and an all-time high.
According to the 2015 Lawsuit Climate Survey: Ranking the States, senior attorneys at major companies say that several large states, such as California and Illinois, have some of the worst legal climates in the country for businesses, with rankings of 47 and 48, respectively. Delaware ranked at the top.
“More business leaders than ever have identified a state’s lawsuit climate as a significant factor in determining their growth and expansion plans,” said Lisa A. Rickard, president of ILR. “States ought to take notice that a good lawsuit climate is vital to their continued job growth.”
ILR released the 2015 Lawsuit Climate Survey alongside Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, and business and civil justice reform groups from across the state. Illinois’ legal environment has worsened in recent years, hitting an all-time low in this year’s survey as the third-worst state nationally. More than a third of the survey respondents identified either Chicago/Cook County, or Madison County, Illinois as the city or county court with the “least fair and reasonable litigation environment for both defendants and plaintiffs” nationwide.
Survey participants also singled out East Texas, Los Angeles, California, and New Orleans/Orleans Parish, Louisiana, as some of the least fair jurisdictions nationally.
Harris Poll, a global polling firm, conducted the 2015 Lawsuit Climate Survey through telephone and online interviews between March 9 and June 24, 2015. The respondents were more than 1,200 general counsels and senior attorneys or leaders in companies with annual revenues of at least $100 million.
In tandem with the survey, ILR released 101 Ways to Improve State Legal Systems, listing key legal reforms that states can adopt to improve their lawsuit climates. ILR also launched a national media campaign to raise awareness about the importance of a fair and balanced lawsuit system.