Survey of Consumer Products Companies: In-House Counsel are most Concerned About Litigation, Brand Equity, and Data Security

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Morrison & Foerster–commissioned survey reveals drivers affecting consumer products businesses, an evolving risk environment, and litigation trends in 2018

Today, Morrison & Foerster, a leading global law firm, announced the results of “Legal Risks to Consumer Products Companies in 2018,” a survey of senior in-house legal counsel at consumer products companies. Morrison & Foerster commissioned the survey to gain and share insights into consumer products companies and their key legal concerns, perceptions of emerging risks, and expectations for 2018.

To view the full survey report, visit:

The report includes the following notable findings:

  • The most important drivers of change for consumer products companies in 2018 will be the economy (78%), government regulatory change (71%), and technological advancements (59%).
  • 69% of respondents said that litigation was their biggest concern, followed closely by protection of brand equity (60%) and privacy and data security (56%).
  • Approximately two out of five legal departments expect their litigation costs to increase in 2018. Estimated cost increases ranged from 5% to 11% or more.
  • Approximately one in three legal matters in 2017 were considered high risk or complex, with one out of five in-house counsel expecting more high-risk lawsuits in 2018.
  • Survey respondents expect that product liability (45%), data privacy (44%), and regulatory/compliance (42%) will give rise to the most new case activity.

“Consumer products companies have always faced unique legal challenges, but in-house counsel are now under more pressure than ever to protect their brand and keep their consumers’ trust,” said Erin Bosman, chair of Morrison & Foerster’s Product Liability and Counseling Practice. “Our survey revealed that, while reputation and litigation threats continue to grow, advancing technology ­ like the Internet of Things ­ has created an even more complex legal landscape that will force companies to anticipate and plan for previously unknown risks.”

“Our survey results show that the ever-changing regulatory environment is also top-of-mind for consumer products companies,” stated Julie Park, a partner in the Product Liability and Counseling Practice. “While the current federal government is unlikely to add regulations, state and local governments are taking a different approach and could implement changes on everything from climate change and nutrition to privacy and labor laws.”


Morrison & Foerster’s “Legal Risks to Consumer Products Companies in 2018” survey of consumer products companies was conducted in late 2017 by telephone, primarily by market research company YouGov. The survey incorporates responses from senior in-house counsel at more than 60 consumer products companies in the United States with revenues ranging from $250 million to $1 billion. Companies participating in the survey represent a range of consumer products, including electronics, foods and beverages, household products, apparel, cosmetics, and office products. To view the full survey report, visit:


Morrison & Foerster knows consumer products. Our clients span the consumer products spectrum, from prestige to mass market, electronics to baby products, chemicals to textiles. We provide a full-spectrum of legal services to some of the most popular and prolific household brands, that trust us to guide them through their toughest strategic business decisions. With lawyers across the United States, Asia, and Europe, we’re always available to help clients develop their businesses through corporate and transactional matters and defend against high-stakes litigation. When the stakes are the highest, we are ready at a moment’s notice to manage safety crises and product recalls. And no matter what issues our clients face, we work with them to protect their reputation and brand integrity.


We are Morrison & Foerster — a global firm of exceptional credentials. Our clients include some of the largest financial institutions, investment banks, Fortune 100, and technology and life sciences companies. The Financial Times has named the firm to its lists of most innovative law firms in Northern America and Asia every year that it has published its Innovative Lawyers Reports in those regions. In the past few years, Chambers USA has honored MoFo’s Privacy and Data Security, Bankruptcy, and IP teams with Firm of the Year awards, the Corporate/M&A team with a client service award, and the firm as a whole as Global USA Firm of the Year. Our lawyers are committed to achieving innovative and business-minded results for our clients, while preserving the differences that make us stronger. The firm also has a long history of commitment to the community through providing pro bono legal services, including litigating for civil rights and civil liberties, improving public education for poor children, advocating for veterans, promoting international human rights, winning asylum for the persecuted, and safeguarding the environment.

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Tracy Hager
Morrison & Foerster
+1 303-592-2205
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