Mass tort law firms deal with large plaintiff pools and even larger settlement funds. The right litigation support service provider (LSSP) can offer meaningful value to these firms by bringing transparency, efficiency, and independence to the process of managing caseloads and settlement distributions.
Here are a few key benefits of engaging an LSSP for support of a mass tort case:
Freedom to focus on highest value activities. An LSSP enables the attorneys to focus on litigating, while all the ancillary services that support the ultimate case management and settlement distribution are being managed by an independent entity focused on these areas as its core business. LSSPs can assume the responsibility for such activity as case management, medical record review, data collection and management, data analytics, and settlement accounting and disbursement.
Financial efficiency. Most mass tort firms do not need to maintain all the human resources in house to manage everything involved in complex case litigation. Given the breadth of services needed to litigate a mass tort case, engaging a multi-faceted team of experts is more time- and cost-efficient for the firm, precluding the need to staff up or incur added HR and other operating expenses to support shifting staffing needs as the case evolves. In many cases, fees for outsourced litigation support may be passed through to the client upon case resolution.
Additionally, lenders are more apt to provide funding for an outside litigation support consultant than for the overhead typically incurred by using the firm’s paralegals and other staff to handle the above-mentioned tasks.
Better accounting and quality controls of the QSF. Litigation support service providers provide critical expertise, assistance and integrity in the management of qualified settlement funds (QSFs).
- Settlement pool allocation. An LSSP experienced in mass torts provides the data collection, curation and analytics that guide attorneys in their arguments regarding settlement size and allocation, including those cases that require different settlement amounts depending on the type of injury or claim.
- QSF distribution – The LSSP supports the distribution, tracking and reconciliation of funds to the law firms and claimants, ensures vendors are paid, and adds a layer of security by utilizing electronic transfers. Disbursements are correctly broken down, go out according to schedule, and the wind-down of fund distribution conforms with the QSF’s governing document. The administrator is accountable to all beneficiaries on QSF activity, providing further independence and accountability to this important function.
An additional and important matter for mass tort firms to research when selecting a litigation support service provider is around compliance with service organization controls (SOC). An LSSP’s compliance with regard to process and deliverables can provide additional value to the law firm. These independent audits are conducted by an external entity to validate the LSSP; the assessments should be performed regularly and provide objective accountability and assurance to the law firm and the litigation support process.
Engaging a litigation support service provider is a comprehensive solution for all aspects of a mass tort case that require specific skill sets. With that valuable support, mass tort firms can then concentrate on litigation, knowing that critical skills are applied and the process is well-managed—with security, confidentiality and compliance.