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PACCAR’s tidal wave effects: Understanding the Legal, Financial and Policy impacts of a highly controversial ruling

By Ana Carolina Salomao |

The following is a contributed piece by Ana Carolina Salomão, Leila Zoe-Mezoughi, Micaela Ossio Maguiña and Sarah Voulaz, of Pogust Goodhead.

This article follows our previous publication dated 10 October 2023 regarding the Supreme Court ruling in PACCAR[1] on third-party litigation funding agreements which, very simply put, decided that litigation funding agreements (“LFAs”), permitting funders to recover a percentage of damages, amounted to (“DBAs”) damages-based agreements by virtue of s.58AA of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 (the “1990 Act”). As such, all LFAs (including those retrospectively drafted) were consequently required to comply with the Damages-Based Agreements Regulations 2013 (the “2013 Regulations”) or be deemed, unenforceable.

In this article, we explore the three main industry-wide changes that have arisen as a direct result of the PACCAR ruling:

  1. The diverse portfolio of LFA reformulation strategies deployed by litigation finance stakeholders.
  2.  The government response, both in terms of official statements and policy changes, which have ultimately led to the draft bill of 19 March 2024.
  3.  The wave of litigations subsequent to the PACCAR ruling, giving insight into the practical market consequences of the ruling.

Ultimately, the PACCAR impact and its proposed reversal has not undermined the UK litigation finance market, in fact the contrary; it has promoted visibility and adaptation of a litigation finance market that continues to gain significant traction in the UK. As a result, despite the concern shown by most UK industry stakeholders about the negative impacts of the PACCAR ruling, this article argues that proper regulation could indeed be highly advantageous, should it incentivise responsible investment, whilst protecting proper access to justice. However, the question does remain, will we ever get there?

The LFA reformulation storm.

As expected, the first reaction to PACCAR came from the litigation finance market. As anticipated, LFAs (those with an investor return formula based on a percentage of the damages recovered) are being amended by parties to avoid their potential unenforceability.

The majority of amendments being implemented are aimed to design valuation methodologies for the amount recovered, which are not directly related to the damages recovered, but are rather a function of some other metric or waterfall, therefore involving a process of alteration of pricing. The intention is for the agreements to fall out of the scope of the definition of ‘claims management services’ provided by section 58AA of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990 (CLSA), which stipulates two main criteria: (i) the funder is paid if the litigation succeeds, and (ii) the amount paid back to the funder is a function of the amounts recovered by the claimant in damages. As such, novel pricing structures such as charging the amount granted in third-party funding with accrued interest; a multiple of the funded amount; or even a fixed pre-agreed amount recovered in the form of a success fee, would not meet both criteria and would hence fall outside of the legal definition of claims management services. These options would avoid the risk of an LFA being bound to the same requirements of a DBA and potentially rendered unenforceable.[2]

Another option to render LFAs enforceable following PACCAR is of course to make these compliant to the definition of DBA provided in s.58AA(2) of the 1990 Act. As such, LFAs would be subjected to stringent statutory conditions as per the Damages-Based Agreements Regulations 2013 (the “2013 Regulations”). This option has however not been the most attractive for funders, firstly due to funders not necessarily conducting claims management services and, secondly, because LFAs would automatically become subject to highly stringent rules to structure the agreements and pursue recovery. For example, such LFAs would need to comply with the cap requirements outlined in the 2013 Regulations such as: 25% of damages (excluding damages for future care and loss) in personal injury cases, 35% on employment tribunal cases and 50% in all other cases.

Ultimately, it can be argued that the choice for restructuring a single LFA or a portfolio of LFAs will vary on a case-by-case basis. Those parties who find themselves at more advanced stages of proceedings will be disadvantaged due to the significant challenges they are likely to face in restructuring such LFAs. From the perspective of the legal sector, on the one hand, we can see an increase in law firms’ portfolio lending, whereby the return to funders is not directly related to damages recovered by the plaintiff. On the other hand, there are certain actors who are remaining only superficially affected by the ruling, such as all funding facilities supporting law firms which raise debt capital collateralised by contingent legal fees.

The introduction of the proposed bill by the government (which is discussed below), is a reflection of the enormous burden the Supreme Court ruling has placed on critical litigation funder stakeholders who are likely to have invested disproportionate sums to amend their LFAs and restructure their litigation portfolios. However, the bill has also given momentum to the sector and is helping to highlight the importance of diversification in litigation funding to protect the interests of low-income claimants. The medium-term net balance of the regulation might be rendered positive if redirected at perfecting and not prohibiting third-party funding agreements to protect access to justice.

The UK Government Intervention.

The UK government has raised concerns regarding the legal and financial impacts of PACCAR relatively swiftlyfollowingthe 26 July 2023 judgement. Their first response to PACCAR came from the Department of Business and Trade (DBT) at the end of August 2023. The DBT stated that, being aware of the Supreme Court decision in PACCAR, it would be “looking at all available options to bring clarity to all interested parties.[3]

In the context of opt-out collective proceedings before CAT, the government proposed in November 2023 amendments to the Digital Markets, Competition and Consumers Bill (DMCC) through the introduction of clause 126, which sought to implement changes to the Competition Act 1998 (CA) to provide that an LFA would not count as a DBA in the context of opt-out collective proceedings in the CAT. This proposal came from the understanding that after PACCAR opt-out collective proceedings would face even greater challenges considering that under c.47C(8) of the CA 1998 DBAs are unenforceable when relating to opt-out proceedings. Proposals for additional amendments to the DMCC soon followed, many of which await final reading and approval by the House of Lords. However, in December 2023 Lord Sandhurst (Guy Mansfield KC) noted that while amendments to the DMCC would mitigate PACCAR’s impact on LFAs for opt-out collective proceedings in the CAT, “the key issue is that the Supreme Court’s PACCAR ruling affects LFAs in all courts, not just in the CAT, and not just, as this clause 126 is designed to address, in so-called opt-out cases.”

As a response to this, the Ministry of Justice announced last March that the government intended to extend the approach taken for opt-out collective proceedings in the CAT to all forms of legal proceedings in England and Wales by removing LFAs from the DBAs category entirely. The statement promised to enact new legislation which would “help people pursuing claims against big businesses secure funding to take their case to court”and“allow third parties to fund legal cases on behalf of the public in order to access justice and hold corporates to account”.[4]

Following this announcement, the Litigation Funding Agreements (Enforceability) Bill was published and introduced to the House of Lords. As promised by the government’s previous statements, the primary purpose of the Bill is to prevent the unenforceability of legitimate LFAs fitting into the amended DBA definition of PACCAR. Indeed, the bill aims to restore the status quo by preventing litigation funding agreements from being caught by s.58AA of the 1990 Act.[5]

The litigation wave.

As parliamentary discussions continue, all eyes are now in the Court system and the pending decisions in litigations arising from PACCAR. Despite the government’s strong stance on this matter, the bill is still in early stages. The second reading took place in April 2024, where issues such as the retrospective nature of the Bill, the Civil Justice Council’s (CJC) forthcoming review of litigation funding, and the need to improve regulations on DBAs, were discussed. Nevertheless, despite the arguable urgency of addressing this issue for funders and the litigation funding market, there is no indication that the bill will be expedited; hence the next step for the bill passage is the Committee stage. The myriad of cases arising from PACCAR may need to stay on standstill for a while, as Courts are likely to await the outcome of the proposed bill before deciding on individual matters.

The UK has a longstanding history of tension between the judiciary power and the two other spheres of the government, the Executive and Parliament. Most of these instances have sparked public debate and have profoundly changed the conditions affecting the market and its players. For example, in the case of R (on the application of Miller and another) (Respondents) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Appellant) [2017] UKSC 5, Gina Miller launched legal proceedings against the Johnson government to challenge the government’s authority to invoke Article 50 of the Treaty of European Union, which would start the process for the UK to leave the EU, without the Parliament’s authorisation. The High Court decided that, given the loss of individual rights that would result from this process, Parliament and not the Executive should decide whether to trigger Article 50, and the Supreme Court confirmed that Parliament’s consent was needed.

Another example is the more recent case of AAA (Syria) & Ors, R (on the application of) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2023] UKSC 42 regarding the Rwanda deportation plan. In this case the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the government’s policy of deporting asylum seekers to Rwanda was unlawful – in agreement with the Court of Appeal’s decision which found that the policy would pose a significant risk of refoulement.

Nevertheless, rushing the finalisation of a bill reversing PACCAR would probably be a counterproductive move. The recent developments suggest that policy makers should focus on deploying a regulatory impact assessment on any regulations aimed at improving access to finance in litigation. Regulators and legislators should ensure that, before designing new regulatory frameworks for litigation finance,  actors from the litigation finance industry are consulted, to ensure that such regulations are adequate and align with the practical realities of the market.

As the detrimental impacts of PACCAR become ever more visible, public authorities should prioritise decisions that favour instilling clarity in the market, and most importantly, ensuring proper access to justice remains upheld in order to “strike the right balance between access to justice and fairness for claimants”.  

A deeper look into the post-PACCAR’s litigations and their domino effects

Even though the English court system is yet to rule on any post-PACCAR case, it is important to understand the immediate effects of the decision by looking at a few landmark cases. We provide in this section of the article an overview of the impacts of the rulingin perhaps the three most important ongoing post-PACCAR proceedings: Therium Litigation Funding A IC v. Bugsby Property LLC (the “Therium litigation”), Alex Neill Class Representative Ltd v Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe Ltd [2023] CAT 73 (the “Sony litigation”) and the case of Alan Bates and Others v Post Office Limited [2019] EWHC 3408 (QB), which led to what has been known as the “Post Office scandal” (also referred to as the “Horizon scandal”).

Therium litigation

The Therium litigation is one of the first cases in which an English court considered questions as to whether an LFA amounted to a DBA following the Supreme Court decision in PACCAR. The case concerned the filing of a freezing injunction application by Therium Litigation Funding I AC (“Therium”) who had entered into an LFA with Bugsby Property LLC (“Bugsby”) in relation to a claim against Legal & General Group (“L&G”). The LFA stipulated between Therium and Bugsby entitled Therium to (i) return of the funding it had provided; (ii) three-times multiple of the amount funded; and (iii) 5% of any damages recovered over £37 million, and compelled Bugsby’s solicitors to hold the claim proceeds on trust until distributions had been made in accordance with a waterfall arrangement set out in a separate priorities’ agreement.

Following a settlement reached between Bugsby and L&G, Bugby’s solicitors transferred a proportion of settlement monies to Bugsby’s subsidiary, and notified Therium of the intention to transfer the remaining amount to Bugsby on the understanding that the LFA signed between Therium and Bugsby was unenforceable as it amounted to a DBA following the PACCAR ruling. Therium applied for an interim freezing injunction against Bugsby under s.44 of the Arbitration Act 1996 and argued that, as the payment scheme stipulated by the LFA contained both a multiple-on-investment and a proportion of damage clauses, and the minimum recovery amount to trigger the damage-based recovery had not been reached, no damage-based payment was foreseen.

This meant that the DBA clause within the LFA could be struck off without changing the nature of the original LFA, so that it constituted an “agreement within an agreement”. As legal precedents such as the Court of Appeal ruling in Zuberi v Lexlaw Ltd [2021] EWCA Civ 16 allowed for parts of an agreement to be severed so as to render the remainder of the agreement enforceable, the High Court granted the freezing injunction, affirming that a serious question was raised by Therium regarding whether certain parts of the agreement could be severed to keep the rest of the LFA enforceable.

By declaring that there was a serious question to be tried as to whether the non-damage clauses, such as the multiple-based payment clauses, are lawful or not, the High Court opened the possibility of enforceability of existing LFAs through severability of damage-based clauses in instances where PACCAR may also apply. The Therium litigation presents an example of another possible structuring strategy to shape LFAs to prevent them from becoming unenforceable under PACCAR. Nonetheless, as the freezing injunction will now most likely lead to an arbitration, a final Court ruling on the validity of these non-damage-based schemes appears to be unlikely.

Sony litigation

The Sony group litigation is another example of one of the first instances where issues of compliance of a revised LFA have been addressed in the aftermath of PACCAR, this time in the context of CAT proceedings. In this competition case, Alex Neill Class Representative Limited, the Proposed Class Representative (PCR), commenced collective proceedings under section 47B of the CA 1998 against Sony Interactive Entertainment Network Europe Limited and Sony Interactive Entertainment UK Limited (“Sony”). The claimant alleged that Sony abused its dominant market position in compelling publishers and developers to sell their gaming software through the PlayStation store and charging a 30% commission on these sales.

The original LFA entered between Alex Neill and the funder as part of the Sony litigation amounted to a DBA and would have therefore been unenforceable pursuant to PACCAR. On this basis, the PCR and funder negotiated an amended LFA designed to prevent PACCAR enforceability issues. The LFA in place was amended to include references for funders to obtain a multiple of their total funding obligation or a percentage of the total damages and costs recovered, only to the extent enforceable and permitted by applicable law. The LFA was also amended to include a severance clause confirming that damages-based fee provisions could be severed to render the LFA enforceable.

The CAT ultimately agreed with the position of the PCR and confirmed that the revised drafting “expressly recognise[d] that the use of a percentage to calculate the Funder’s Fee will not be employed unless it is made legally enforceable by a change in the law.” In relation to the severance clause, the CAT also expressly provided that such clause enabled the agreement to avoid falling within the statutory definition of a DBA and referred to the test for effective severance clauses.

The CAT’s approach in recognising the PACCAR ruling and yet allowing for new means to render revised LFAs enforceable in light of this decision provides a further example of a Court’s interpretation of the decision, allowing another route for funders to prevent the unenforceability of agreements. Allowing these clauses to exempt litigation funders from PACCAR will in fact allow for such clauses to become market standard for LFAs, and in this case particularly for those LFAs backing opt-out collective proceedings in the CAT.

Post Office scandal  

Although the Post Office scandal occurred in 2019, this case was only recently brought back to light following the successful tv series ‘Mr Bates vs The Post Office’ which recounts the story of the miscarriage of justice suffered by hundreds of sub-postmasters and sub-postmistresses (SPM’s) in the past two decades. In short, the Post Office scandal concerned hundreds of SPM’s being unjustly taken to court for criminal offences such as fraud and false accounting, whilst in reality the Horizon computer system used by Post Office Ltd (POL) was found to contain errors that caused  inaccuracies in the system.

Mr. Bates, leading claimant in the case, brought the case on behalf of all the SMP’s which had been unfairly treated by POL. The issuing of the claim was only made possible thanks to a funding arrangement between litigation funders and the SPM’s, used as a basis for investors to pay up front legal costs. As outlined in a publication by Mr Bates in January 2024, such financing, combined with the strength and defiance of Mr. Bates’ colleagues, allowed the case to be brought forward, a battle which in today’s circumstances the postmaster believes would have certainly been lost.[6]

The sheer scale of the Post Office scandal, and the fact that traditional pricing vehicles for legal services would have negated the claimants access to justice, placed the case near the top of the government’s agenda and called again into question the effect of PACCAR on access to justice. Justice Secertary Alex Chalk MP relied on the example of Mr Bates and the Post Office scandal to affirm that that “for many claimants, litigation funding agreements are not just an important pathway to justice – they are the only route to redress.”[7]In light of this recent statement more radical changes to legislation on litigation funding and the enforceability of LFAs appear to be on the horizon.

Conclusion

Assessing the long-term impact of PACCAR will ultimately need to wait until the dust in the litigation finance market settles. Nonetheless, the immediate impacts of the decision have brought four key considerations to light.

First, the relevance of the litigation funding industry in the UK is substantial and any attempt to regulate it impacts not only those who capture value from the market but also the wider society. Regulation of litigation funding could inadvertently affect wider policy questions such as equal access to justice, consumer rights, protection of the environment and human rights.

Second, there is an undeniable intention of the regulators to oversee the litigation finance market, which could reflect in stability and predictability that would be much welcomed by institutional investors and other stakeholders. However, this conclusion assumes that regulatory efforts will be preceded by robust impact assessment and enforced within clear guardrails, always prioritising stability and ensuring proper access to justice.

Third, PACCAR serves to bring awareness that attempts to regulate a market in piecemeal can lead to detrimental outcomes and high adapting costs, far offsetting any positive systemic effects brought by the new framework. Any attempts to regulate a market so complex and relevant for the social welfare should be well-thought-out with the participation of key stakeholders.

Fourth, despite the recent headwinds, the market and government reaction further prove that the litigation finance market continues its consolidation as an effective vehicle to drive value for claimants and investors. The fundamentals behind the market’s growth are still solid and the asset class is consolidating as a strategy to achieve portfolios’ uncorrelation with normal market cycles. As private credit and equity funds as well as venture capitalists, hedge funds and other institutions compete to increase their footprint in this burgeoning market, it is safe to expect a steady increase of market size and investors’ appetite for the thesis.

In conclusion, despite a first brush view of the PACCAR decision, the reactions to this decision and the subsequent developments have evidenced how litigation finance continues to be a promising investment strategy and an effective tool to drive social good and access to justice.


[1] Ana Carolina Salomao, Micaela Ossio and Sarah Voulaz, Is the Supreme Court ruling in PACCAR really clashing with the Litigation Finance industry? An overview of the PACCAR decision and its potential effects, Litigation Finance Journal, 10 October 2023.

[2] Daniel Williams, Class Action Funding: PACCAR and now Therium – what does it mean for class action litigation?, Dwf, October 25, 2023.

[3] Department for Business and Trade statement on recent Supreme Court decision on litigation funding: A statement from the department in response to the Supreme Court’s Judgement in the case of Paccar Inc. and others vs. Competition Tribunal and others. Available at: <https://www.gov.uk/government/news/department-for-business-and-trade-statement-on-recent-supreme-court-decision-on-litigation-funding>.

[4] Press release, ‘New law to make justice more accessible for innocent people wronged by powerful companies’ (GOV.UK, 4 March 2024) Available at <https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-law-to-make-justice-more-accessible-for-innocent-people-wronged-by-powerful-companies>.

[5] Litigation Funding Agreements (Enforceability) Bill (Government Bill originated in the House of Lords, Session 2023-24) Available at <https://bills.parliament.uk/bills/3702/publications>.

[6] Alan Bates, ‘Alan Bates: Why I wouldn’t beat the Post Office today’ (Financial Times, 12 January 2024) <https://www.ft.com/content/1b11f96d-b96d-4ced-9dee-98c40008b172>.

[7] Alex Chalk, ‘Cases like Mr Bates vs the Post Office must be funded’ (Financial Times, 3 March 2024) <https://www.ft.com/content/39eeb4a6-d5bc-4189-a098-5b55a80876ec?accessToken=zwAGEsgQoGRQkc857rSm1bxBidOgmFtVqAh27A.MEQCIBNfHrXgvuIufYajr8vp1jmn9z9H9Bwl0FC-u96h8f4LAiBumh82Jxp30mqQsGb71VSoAmYWUwo9YBO2kF5wuMP5QA&sharetype=gift&token=7a7fe231-8fea-4a0d-9755-93fc3e3689aa>.

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Fernando Gragera joins Aon to lead the litigation and contingency insurance practice in Iberia

By Harry Moran |

Aon strengthens its M&A and Transaction Solutions team and pioneers a local team specialising in the management of these risks

Aon plc (NYSE: AON), a leading global professional services firm, has appointed Fernando Gragera as Director of Litigation and Contingent Risks for Spain and Portugal. Fernando will join the Iberia M&A and Transaction Solutions (AMATS) team led by Lucas López Vázquez, and globally in Aon’s international Litigation Risk Group. His role will be to develop the litigation insurance practice and assist Aon’s clients in transferring risks arising from litigation and contingent situations.

Fernando Gragera, a Spanish lawyer and solicitor of England and Wales with more than 13 years of professional experience, comes from PLA Litigation Funding, a litigation funder specialising in the Iberian market. Previously, he worked as a lawyer in the litigation and arbitration department of Cuatrecasas and as in-house counsel at Meliá Hotels International, where he was responsible for the group’s litigation and arbitration.

This appointment responds to the growing interest from investment funds, corporations and law firms in covering contingent and litigation-related risks and makes Aon the first professional services firm with a local team specialising in contingent and litigation solutions in Iberia.

Miguel Blesa, head of Aon Transaction Solutions in Iberia: “Fernando’s appointment is a major milestone for the industry and embodies a commitment we have been working on for years. In this way, we reinforce our commitment to continue to support our clients and help them make the best decisions to protect and grow their business”.

About Aon

Aon plc (NYSE: AON) exists to shape decisions for the better — to protect and enrich the lives of people around the world. Through actionable analytic insight, globally integrated Risk Capital and Human Capital expertise, and locally relevant solutions, our colleagues provide clients in over 120 countries and sovereignties with the clarity and confidence to make better risk and people decisions that help protect and grow their businesses.

Follow Aon on X and LinkedIn. To learn more visit our NOA content platform. 

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Altroconsumo Secures Impressive 50 million Euro Settlement for 60,000 Participants to Dieselgate Class Action in Italy

By Harry Moran |

Altroconsumo and VW Group have reached a ground-breaking agreement, providing over 50 million euro relief to over 60,000 Italian consumers affected by the emissions fraud scandal. Celebrating this major win for Italian consumers, Euroconsumers calls on Volkswagen to now also compensate Dieselgate victims in the other Euroconsumers countries. 

The settlement reached by Altroconsumo, arising from a Euroconsumers coordinated class action which commenced in 2015 ensures that Volkswagen will allocate over 50 million euros in compensation. Eligible participants stand to receive payments of up to 1100 euros per individual owner.

This brings an end to an eight year long legal battle that Altroconsumo together with Euroconsumers has been fiercefully fighting for Italian consumers and marks a significant milestone in seeking justice for those impacted by the ‘Dieselgate’ scandal.

We extend our massive congratulations to Altroconsumo for reaching this major settlement in favor of the Italian Dieselgate victims. Finally, they will receive the justice and compensation they deserve. This milestone underscores the importance of upholding consumer rights and the accountability of big market players when these rights are ignored, something Euroconsumers and all its national organisations will continue to do together with even more intensity under the new Representative Actions Directive” – Marco Scialdone, Head Litigation and Academic Outreach Euroconsumers

Together with Altroconsumo in Italy, Euroconsumers also initiated Dieselgate class actions against the Volkswagen-group in Belgium, Spain and Portugal. While the circumstances are shared, the outcomes have been far from consistent.

Euroconsumers was the first European consumer cluster to launch collective actions against Volkswagen to secure redress and compensation for all affected by the emissions scandal in its member countries. After 8 years of relentless pursuit, we urge the VW group to finally come through for all of them and give all of them the compensation they rightfully deserve. All Dieselgate victims are equal and should be treated with equal respect.” – Els Bruggeman, Head Policy and Enforcement Euroconsumers

Consumer protection is nothing without enforcement and so Euroconsumers and its organisations will continue to lead important class actions which benefit consumers all across the single market. 

Read the full Altroconsumo press release here.

About Euroconsumers 

Gathering five national consumer organisations and giving voice to a total of more than 1,5 million people in Italy, Belgium, Spain, Portugal and Brazil, Euroconsumers is the world’s leading consumer cluster in innovative information, personalised services and the defence of consumer rights. Our European member organisations are part of the umbrella network of BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation. Together we advocate for EU policies that benefit consumers in their daily lives.

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Member Spotlight: Felipe Hotta 

By John Freund |

Felipe Hotta, Partner at Pogust Goodhead, is a 29-year-old Brazilian lawyer who graduated from the University of São Paulo (USP). Hotta graduated a master’s degree in environmental law from Queen Mary University of London and trained at the Negotiation Program at Harvard Law School. 

Specialized in indigenous law, environmental law, and human rights, Hotta dedicates his career to advocating on behalf of vulnerable communities and of those without full access to justice in Brazil, particularly in cases against large international corporations.  

Pogust Goodhead is a global law firm headquartered in London, England, dedicated to fighting for justice on behalf of those affected by potentially irresponsible actions from large corporations. Pogust Goodhead´s mission is to level the playing field between individuals, businesses and large corporations. 

In 2023, Pogust Goodhead and Gramercy signed a £450 million investment partnership, the largest litigation funding deal in legal history. 

Company Website: https://pogustgoodhead.com/ 

Year Founded: 2018 

Headquarters: Rio de Janeiro, London, Philadelphia, Amsterdam, Miami, Edinburgh, San Diego, New Jersey and Sydney. 

Area of Focus:  Environmental law, human rights, climate litigation, consumer law, indigenous law, collective disputes 

Member Quote: “In a context where access to justice is often a privilege of the powerful, litigation funding emerges as hope for those who have been victims of human rights or environmental rights violations in Brazil, particularly in the fight against large corporations.” 

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New Study Reveals How GCs and CFOs Across Industries Manage Legal Risk and Value in an Uncertain Climate

By Harry Moran |

Burford Capital, the leading global finance and asset management firm focused on law, today releases a new study that examines how senior legal and finance department leaders across industries approach litigation spend, legal cost and risk management and optimizing legal department value.

Much has changed in the 15 years since Burford’s inception in the wake of the global financial crisis. Economic, political and societal changes have impacted different industries and their legal functions in different ways. This study reveals how leaders from both legal and finance functions in various industries are responding to both external and internal factors—adapting their legal strategies to navigate the evolving landscape effectively—and where they plan to allocate resources moving forward.

The research is gathered from online interviews with 400 senior lawyers and finance professionals across ten industry sectors, shedding light on their decision-making processes regarding commercial disputes as well as cost and risk management within their legal departments. Industry sectors addressed are construction and real estate; consumer goods and services; energy; food; healthcare; manufacturing; mining; pharma and life sciences; retail; and transportation and supply chain.

Key findings from the study include:

  • Senior legal and finance leaders in construction and mining expect the biggest increases in litigation spend in the next five years, with pharma and food close behind.
  • 3 of 4 GCs and CFOs in construction and real estate say a top priority is to increase certainty and predictability of legal costs—25% higher than the average across all industries.
  • Pharma and life sciences GCs and CFOs are four times more likely than the average across all industries to say they could reallocate $50 million or more elsewhere in the business by financing litigation and arbitration.
  • Almost two thirds (65%) of senior finance and legal leaders at mining companies say that in the next 15 years they are likely to use monetization, a legal finance solution that provides businesses immediate capital by advancing some of the expected entitlement of a pending claim, judgment or award.
  • Half of GCs and CFOs at food companies expect their organization’s litigation and arbitration spend to increase by more than 25% over the next five years; they are also 54% more likely to have used legal finance than the average across all industries.
  • A third of senior finance and legal leaders at energy companies say they already have a robust affirmative recovery program in place, nearly twice as many as the average across all industries. 
  • Healthcare, retail and consumer GCs and CFOs are more likely to say legal finance can play a significant role in reducing overall litigation and legal costs, perhaps reflecting these sectors’ typically thin margins and their desire for innovative cost-saving measures.
  • Finance and legal leaders at retail companies are the most likely to say they intend to invest heavily in legal technology and AI over the next year.
  • Industries in which leaders anticipate the largest increases in future litigation spend do not currently have the largest budgets, suggesting a significant shift in litigation priorities among some industries.

Christopher Bogart, CEO of Burford Capital, said: “Burford’s latest research affirms that GCs and CFOs across industries are thinking about new ways to create value for the business, which is at the heart of our work to help clients reframe the legal department from cost center to capital source.

“Burford was founded in the wake of the 2009 global financial crisis, and we recognize that our capital and expertise are especially valuable in challenging times. A major shift since our founding is the continued expansion of our client base from law firms to companies, including very large ones, and financing arrangements with companies now account for the majority of our business. We help all our clients navigate risk and exploring innovative capital solutions, but the growth of our business with corporate clients—including a recent $325 million deal with a single Fortune 500—is exemplary of how much our capital and expertise can help businesses both survive and thrive in today’s uncertain landscape.”

The latest research is based on an online survey of senior financial officers and in-house lawyers of companies across ten different industries and with annual revenues of $50 million or more in the US, UK, Australia, Singapore, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Sweden, The Netherlands and the UAE. All respondents are in roles that include knowledge of their companies’ litigation expenditures and decision-making.The Industry perspectives on litigation and arbitration survey can be downloaded on Burford’s website. The research was conducted by GLG from December 2023–January 2024.

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Burford Capital Reports First Quarter 2024 Results

By Harry Moran |

Burford Capital Limited (“Burford”), the leading global finance and asset management firm focused on law, today announces its first quarter 2024 results.

In addition, Burford has made available an accompanying first quarter 2024 results presentation on its website at http://investors.burfordcapital.com.

Christopher Bogart, Chief Executive Officer of Burford Capital, commented:

“Our first quarter showed our highest ever reported level of first quarter cash receipts, above-average realized gains, continued case conclusions with loss levels below historical experience and moderate new business activity broadly consistent with a typical first quarter. Total revenues reflected the variable timing of recognition we expect in our business; the underlying portfolio continued to show forward momentum with no material negative developments, while lower operating expenses reflected the absence of elevated variable costs.”The full summary of the quarterly results can be read here.

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Lex Ferenda Litigation Funding LLC Announces Promotion; New Appointment

By Harry Moran |

Lex Ferenda Litigation Funding LLC “LF2” is pleased to announce the following promotion and appointment: Andrew Kelley is now LF2’s Deputy Chief Investment Officer; Andrew Bourhill joins LF2 as Associate Director, Investments. Kelley previously served as Managing Director, Underwriting and Risk. Bourhill, who was an intern at the company while completing his MBA at Columbia Business School, graduated this month and now joins on a full-time basis.

“LF2 has been working on its first investment fund, committing it to litigation assets around the US. It has always been our plan to increase our commitments to Andrew and Andrew, and we are pleased that the business is in a place that we are able to do that,” said Chris Baildon, LF2’s Chief Operating Officer.

PROMOTION

Kelley, who now serves as the Company’s Deputy Chief Investment Officer, is a key part of the management team and works carefully with the co-founders and advisory board to understand risk and manage investments.

“I am excited to expand my role at LF2 and look forward to continuing to help our clients and their counsel successfully navigate the dispute resolution process without having to worry about how to pay for their representation,” said Kelley. “As a former outside counsel and in-house lawyer, I understand the complex business and legal dynamics of successfully funding, prosecuting, and resolving disputes.”

Prior to joining LF2 in early 2023, Kelley was Associate General Counsel and head of commercial litigation at Fortune 500 company, DaVita Inc.. He has also served as General Counsel to a private equity firm headquartered in Colorado and as outside counsel at two different international law firms in Colorado. Kelley received his J.D. from Harvard Law School and his B.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is actively licensed to practice law in Colorado.

APPOINTMENT

Bourhill joins as Associate Director, Investments, and will be primarily responsible for creating, developing, and maintaining business relationships with law firms and litigants to ensure that LF2’s commercial activity continues to expand while its clients receive best-in-class service.

“I am looking forward to joining the LF2 team and applying my unique perspective in a dynamic industry with such high growth potential,” said Bourhill. “As a former litigator and finance professional, I’m excited to enhance outcomes for both our clients and investors while being able to promote access to high quality legal representation.”

Prior to obtaining his MBA, Bourhill was an associate attorney at a premier defense law firm in Manhattan specializing in commercial litigation. Bourhill received his J.D. from the Cardozo School of Law, and his B.A. from Emory University. He is actively licensed to practice law in New York.

“I am humbled to have Kelley and Bourhill take expanded roles at LF2 and believe that their increased fidelity with our clients and investors will make our business stronger,” said Michael German, Chief Investment Officer at LF2. “We are continuing to expand in the litigation finance space and are excited about the future, particularly with Andrew and Andrew playing strategic roles within the business,” German said.

ABOUT LEX FERENDA LITIGATION FUNDINGLF2 is a commercial litigation finance company anchored by institutional capital. LF2 is structured with the objective of meeting the highest standards in investment process management, quality control, risk management, and compliance. For further information about LF2, please visit: www.lf-2.com.

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High-Volume Claims Funding: Strategies for Efficiency and Risk Management

By Louisa Klouda |

The following is a contributed piece by Louisa Klouda, CEO at Fenchurch Legal.

Litigation funding is a well-established concept that provides essential financial support for legal claims. While financing for high-value lawsuits is commonplace, small-ticket funding, especially at high volumes, remains a niche area.

This article explores the challenges and opportunities of funding high volumes of small-ticket claims. It outlines the strategies employed by some small-ticket litigation funders to efficiently manage these claims while ensuring investor confidence.

The Challenge of High-Volume Claims

While a single small claim might seem manageable, the sheer volume of “no win, no fee” cases can overwhelm a law firm’s financial and operational resources. Each claim demands substantial time and effort for investigation, evidence gathering, and legal representation.

Without additional funding, managing multiple cases simultaneously becomes a significant financial burden. This can limit a firm’s ability to take on new clients or dedicate sufficient resources to each claim.

Litigation funding bridges this gap by providing the resources law firms need to handle a high volume of claims effectively. Securing funding to cover the costs of these claims allows law firms to build strong processes and procedures, ultimately benefiting from economies of scale.

Strategies for Success

Firms specialising in high-volume claim funding can achieve success through a combination of technology, experienced teams, and robust processes.

  • Technology: State-of-the-art software isn’t just an advantage – it’s an imperative. It can streamline every aspect of the operations, automating repetitive tasks and facilitating efficient case vetting through rigorous risk management, ensuring efficient and reliable funding solutions.
  • Experienced Team: A knowledgeable team plays a crucial role in assessing claims, managing risk, and ensuring compliance with regulations. A team must go beyond just general experience – they should possess deep market knowledge and a nuanced understanding of the specific claim types.
  • Robust Processes: Clearly defined processes for loan approval, monitoring, and repayments are essential for maintaining transparency and accountability.

The Importance of Software

Limitations of manual processes can hinder efficiency. Software solutions can streamline the loan process, enhance risk management, and provide robust audit trails. This software should:

  • Facilitate Efficient Case Vetting: Streamline the process of assessing claims for eligibility.
  • Enhance Risk Management: Built-in safety measures can prevent errors like double-funding and identify potential risks.
  • Ensure Transparency and Accountability: Robust audit trails provide a clear picture of the funding process.

Funders like Fenchurch Legal have gone further. Recognising the limitations of off-the-shelf loan management software, they have built their own bespoke software, which serves as the backbone of their operations and enables them to manage a high volume of claims efficiently. It eliminates manual errors and incorporates built-in safety measures, such as preventing double-funded cases and cross-referencing duplicate data across the platform. This seamless approach is essential for managing drawdowns and repayments and ensuring the integrity of their funding processes.

A Streamlined Funding Process

An efficient funding process benefits both law firms and funders.  Here’s a simplified example of how it might work:

  1. Clear Eligibility Criteria: Law firms understand the types of cases that qualify for funding based on pre-agreed criteria (i.e., success rate thresholds).
  2. Batch Uploads: Law firms can easily request funding by uploading batches of cases to a secure online platform.
  3. Auditing and Approval: A sample of cases is audited to ensure they meet agreed upon terms. If approved, funding is released in a single lump sum.
  4. Monitoring and Repayment: Software facilitates seamless monitoring of the loans and the repayment status, ensuring efficient management of repayment schedules.

Managing Risk in High-Volume Funding

Risk management is vital in high-volume funding. Here are some strategies that can be employed to mitigate risk effectively:

  • Diversification: Spreading funding across different law firms and case types is a crucial strategy for mitigating risk in high-volume claim funding. It minimises overexposure and creates a well-balanced portfolio.
  • After the Event (ATE) Insurance: Provides an extra layer of protection for investments in high-volume claim funding. It specifically covers the legal costs if a funded claim is unsuccessful.
  • Rigorous Due Diligence: Thorough assessment of cases and the law firm’s capacity to handle them ensures informed decision-making.
  • Continuous Monitoring: Proactive risk identification and mitigation safeguard investments. This includes requesting regular updates and performance data from law firms.

Conclusion

By leveraging technology, team expertise, and robust processes, funders can efficiently manage high-volume small claims, presenting a compelling investment opportunity. This approach can minimise risk and ensure transparency throughout the funding process.

Fenchurch Legal specialises in this niche area, efficiently managing and supporting a high volume of small-ticket consumer claims with an average loan value of £3,000 each. They handle diverse areas such as housing disrepair and personal contract payment claims. Their proven track record of funding over 12,000 cases is driven by their bespoke software, knowledgeable team, and robust processes.

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Burford Capital Announces Date for Release of 1Q24 Financial Results and Results Call Registration and Participation Details

By Harry Moran |

Burford Capital Limited (“Burford”), the leading global finance and asset management firm focused on law, today announces that it will release its financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2024 (“1Q24”) on Monday, May 13, 2024, at 7.00am EDT / 12.00pm BST.

Burford will hold a conference call for investors and analysts at 8.00am EDT / 1.00pm BST on Monday, May 13, 2024. The dial-in numbers for the conference call are +1 646 307-1963 (USA) or +1 800 715-9871 (USA & Canada toll free) / +44 (0)20 3481 4247 (UK) or +44 800 260 6466 (UK toll free) and the access code is 7684047. To minimize the risk of delayed access, participants are urged to dial into the conference call by 7.40am EDT / 12.40pm BST.

A live webcast of the call will also be available at https://events.q4inc.com/attendee/323980508, and pre-registration at that link is encouraged.

An accompanying 1Q24 results presentation for investors and analysts will also be made available on Burford’s website prior to the conference call at http://investors.burfordcapital.com.Following the conference call, a replay facility for this event will be accessible through the webcast at https://events.q4inc.com/attendee/323980508.

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Member Spotlight: Ed Gehres

By John Freund |

Invenio LLP Co-Founder and Managing Partner Ed Gehres has worked on all sides of the litigation finance marketplace. Ed began his career as a defense-side trial lawyer at AmLaw 100 firms, then started doing plaintiffs-side work, served as a partner and practice group leader, and then developed a transactional practice that led to his work as General Counsel of an investment platform that had multiple litigation finance and services companies.

Ed co-founded Invenio LLP to help level the playing field for civil justice. The firm works at the intersection of plaintiffs, the law firms that represent them, and the investors who see that they get their day in court. Leveraging this broad base of experience as litigator, lender, deal lawyer, and law firm leader, Ed now focuses on helping law firms and claimants navigate complex litigation finance transactions.  

Invenio LLP is a leading provider of legal services for those navigating the complexities of the litigation finance industry. We’ve represented both plaintiffs and defendants in litigation; and immersed ourselves in venture start-ups and private equity ventures catering to plaintiffs, law firms, and claims development experts. This gives us a unique blend of expertise suited to untangling the complexities of the litigation finance space and finding solutions. Invenio is committed to increasing access to civil justice by helping plaintiffs of all types access courts and level the playing field against well-resourced defendants.  We believe litigation finance can be a force multiplier for plaintiffs and the firms that represent them. We aim to make the process of exploring and obtaining litigation finance clear, fair, and straightforward.

Since Invenio LLP was founded in January of 2022, the firm has advised on nearly $500 million in credit transactions involving legal assets and has developed an emerging practice involving alternative business structures.

Company Website: inveniolaw.com

Year Founded: 2022

Headquarters: Invenio is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and has offices in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and Phoenix, AZ.

Area of Focus: Invenio LLP is fully engaged in all aspects of the rapidly emerging litigation finance industry. The firm’s founding partners have each worked on multiple claimant funding and law firm loan transactions and have themselves litigated cases where law firm portfolio funding or third-party case funding was used. Our clients are law firms borrowing for their cases or portfolios, claimants seeking traditional third-party funding, lenders and insurers seeking assistance with underwriting and servicing of cases or portfolios of cases, and parties to litigation finance-related disputes or distressed transactions. We focus on case & portfolio underwriting; borrower & claimant-side representation; alternative business structures; and pre-settlement, post-settlement & medical lien funding.

Member Quote: “I’ve shifted gears multiple times in my career. But I truly believe it was all leading to this important work in litigation finance. This is about ensuring access to the civil justice process. I view it as a life’s work.”

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The Story of Sriracha: A Case Study in Legal Analytics and Litigation Funding

By Nicole Clark |

The following is a contributed piece by Nicole Clark, CEO and co-founder of Trellis. Trellis is pleased to offer LFJ members a complimentary 2 week free trial to its state trial court database.  Click here to access it today. 

Nobody knows exactly what happened. Each party has their own account of the events that unfolded. This, however, is what we do know. Jalapeno peppers were everywhere. Nestled within the rolling hills of Ventura County in Southern California, Underwood Ranches, a family farm operated by Craig Underwood, had been growing the fruit for the past three decades, serving as the sole supplier for Huy Fong Foods, the company responsible for sriracha. Business boomed. Both companies expanded. The world was their oyster.

Then, in 2016, the paradise they built crumbled. Huy Fong Foods filed a lawsuit against Underwood Ranches, accusing the farm of overcharging for growing costs. In response, Underwood Ranches countersued, claiming breach of contract and financial loss. After a three week trial, a jury for the Ventura County Superior Court found merit with both claims, awarding Huy Fong Foods $1.45 million and Underwood Ranches $23.3 million. Huy Fong Foods appealed the verdict, and, unable to claim its award, Underwood Ranches stood on the brink of financial collapse, left without the funds needed to pay its suppliers or its workers.

The Flames of Uncertainty

“The benefit you get from litigation is that litigation doesn’t fluctuate the same way that the markets do,” explains Christopher Bogart of Burford Capital. The financial service company had been called by the attorneys of Underwood Ranches to assist the farm, providing it with $4 million in non-recourse financing—enough to carry it through the appeal process. Still, according to Bogart, the comparative stability of litigation doesn’t eliminate the risks of financing a case like this. The risks, and the costs, can be big.

It’s easy to overlook the uncertainties embedded within the legal system. After all, this is a system that relies on precedents, a situation which suggests that the outcome of any future case should reflect that which came before. As Gail Gottehrer, an emerging technologies attorney based in New York City, remarks, “[i]f your case is similar and has similar facts to another case, the results shouldn’t be too surprising.” The problem, however, is that the results often are surprising. Judges aren’t computers. Neither are juries. They are people, filled with their own beliefs and their own experiences, both of which shape how they interpret laws, apply facts, and consider arguments.

Over the years, attorneys have developed their own rudimentary tools for grappling with this uncertainty. These rudimentary tools have now morphed into powerful machine learning technologies, packed with the ability to comb through millions of state trial court records in order to analyze court dockets, judicial rulings, and verdict data in ways that have rendered civil litigation more transparent and more predictable. But what does the story of sriracha mean for litigation funding teams? How can litigation finance companies use state trial court records to navigate uncertain legal terrains, not just for cases at the end of their lifecycle, but also for those that have only just begun?

Harvesting the Seeds

It could start with a ping. That’s just one way litigation funding companies can tap into new business opportunities. By registering for alerts with a legal analytics platform, litigation funding teams no longer need to source leads through collaborating attorneys. Alerts afford litigation funders with their own bird’s-eye view of the litigation landscape as it unfolds in real-time. These systems can notify users whenever a new case has been filed against a particular company, a new entry has been added to a case docket, or a new ruling has been issued on a legal claim.

To help manage the scale—and the urgency—of this reality, litigation funding teams can also turn to a different tool: the daily filings report. A daily filings report is a spreadsheet that contains detailed coverage of all new civil actions filed in a specific jurisdiction. Each report is emailed to subscribers every morning and includes all case data (i.e., judge, party, counsel, practice area) and metadata (i.e., case summary) as well as direct links to the docket and the complaint. With reliable access to daily filings reports, litigation funders can be the first to know about any new cases filed within a particular jurisdiction, pinpointing the most lucrative cases before anyone else.

Heat Indexing

What happens, then, when a litigation funding team finds a potential case? The daily filings report lets funders access the complaint within seconds, gathering all of the information they need to perform a Google-like search through the millions of state trial court records that have been curated by their preferred legal analytics provider. The goal? To quickly learn more about the litigation history of the parties that are named in the complaint (What other cases does Underwood Ranches have pending? What practice areas drain its budget? Who is its primary outside counsel?) and the law firm that has chosen to represent them (How experienced is Ferguson Case Orr Paterson with this jurisdiction, practice area, opposing counsel? Who are its typical clients? How were those cases resolved?).

The due diligence process deepens with a look at the merits of the case. Here, a litigation funding team can use legal analytics to follow the logics of conventional legal research. With access to a searchable database of prior decisional law, funders can conduct element-focused analyses of each asserted cause of action in the case, identifying the ways in which judges in the county have ruled on similar actions in the past. And, if a judge has already been assigned to the case, these funders can take their due diligence even further, turning their eyes to a judge analytics dashboard—an interactive interface developed by legal analytics platforms to highlight the patterns, the inclinations, and the past experiences of specific judicial officers.

Consider the dispute between Underwood Ranches and Huy Fong Foods, a case presided over by the Hon. Henry J. Walsh. According to Trellis, the average case length in Ventura County is 945 days. Knowing where Walsh sits in relation to this average, as well as the number of cases he has on deck, could help a litigation funder anticipate the likely pace of a case, a key piece of information to have when designing different investment portfolios. But what about juries? How might a jury respond to a breach of contract case in California? Legal analytics platforms like Trellis have also integrated verdict data into their systems, amending their archives of state trial court records to also include information related to case outcomes and settlement awards. A litigation funder conducting due diligence on Underwood Ranches could quickly pull a random sample of agricultural-related breach of contract claims in California, identifying the value range of verdict and settlement amounts (median: $5,650,798; average $9,331,712) and the frequency of plaintiff verdicts (62.5 percent). Litigation funders no longer need to wonder how much a case might be worth. The numbers are there.

The Spiciest Pepper

“There is idiosyncratic risk in the court system that can’t be anticipated,” begins Eva Shang, the co-founder of Legalist. It is widely known that predicting the outcome of litigation can be a risky business. Yet, there is something to be said about the magic of big numbers. Whenever we feed our computers the (meta)data of thousands of cases, deviations get smoothed out and patterns begin to emerge. By shifting our thinking away from stories about individual lawsuits, we can redirect our attention towards that which is frequent, recurrent, predictable. As a case study, the story of sriracha opens the door to a more predictable world, a world where the outcomes of litigation don’t have to fluctuate the way that markets do, not because the courtroom is inherently less uncertain than a stock exchange, but because the magic of big numbers finds increasingly novel ways to make it that way.

By Nicole Clark

CEO and co-founder of Trellis | Business litigation and labor and employment attorney

Trellis is an AI-powered legal research and analytics platform that gives state court litigators a competitive advantage by making trial court rulings searchable, and providing insights into the patterns and tendencies of your opposing counsel, and your state court judges.

Trellis is pleased to offer LFJ members a complimentary 2 week free trial to its state trial court database.  Click here to access it today. 

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Legal-Bay Lawsuit Funding Announces Increased Commitment to Product Liability Funding

By John Freund |

Legal-Bay LLC, The Lawsuit Pre Settlement Funding Company, announced today their newfound focus on product liability claims for plaintiffs and lawyers involved in ongoing mass tort litigations. Due to increasing product liability lawsuit loan requests, Legal-Bay has committed more capital to secure even more specialized lawsuit funding for the law firms and plaintiffs out there with product liability cases due to their complex and time-consuming nature.

Legal-Bay’s knowledge of product liability lawsuits and experience with mass tort litigations for various products and defective products makes them the leading lawsuit funding firm to call for a complex product defect case involving defective products or product rejection. This experience, as well as Legal-Bay’s overall capital, gives them the reputation of the best lawsuit funding firm that exists today.

The lawsuit loan company’s team of experts studies each national litigation, often leading the legal funding industry on which cases to begin funding. Many other lawsuit loan companies and lawsuit cash advance places and loan companies do not fund these types of cases due to the complex and time-consuming nature. However, this is just part of why Legal-Bay remains so committed to helping people who have suffered as a result of a defective surgical product or medical device gone wrong, including those that migrate in the body or cause other long-term damage.

If you are wondering what to do when a large corporation will fight your case or if a large corporation or company is fighting your claim, don’t hesitate to contact Legal-Bay today. To learn more about product liability lawsuit funding, product liability lawsuit claim loans, product liability lawsuit money, or defective product settlement funding amounts, please visit our new product liability funding site, at: https://lawsuitssettlementfunding.com/product-liability.php 

Currently, Legal-Bay is expanding their product liability wing as they review various product liability cases and product liability class action suits with national law firms for legal funding options.

Below is a list of just some of the product liability mass tort cases that Legal-Bay’s team is actively monitoring or has funded in the past:

  • IVC Filter
  • Hernia Mesh
  • Exactech Implant Recall
  • Hip Implants
  • Knee Implants
  • CPAP Recall
  • Birth Control
  • JUUL E-Cigarettes
  • J&J Talc Products
  • Round Up Weed Killer
  • Medical Devices
  • 3M Ear Plugs
  • Paraquat
  • Just For Men Hair Products
  • Chemical Hair Straightener Products
  • Essure Birth Control IUD
  • Permanent Makeup Claim
  • Eyebrow Tint Claim
  • Essure Birth Control IUD
  • Allergen or Saline or Silicone Breast Implants

Legal-Bay is currently reviewing and assessing case worth or proposed settlement amounts for many other bad products or defective products not listed above.

Chris Janish, CEO commented on today’s announcement, “Legal-Bay has been built on product liability funding.  We are the leading and best mass tort funding company in the country, in my sincere opinion.  We work with the top lawyers on each specific litigation, and see cases and litigations from start to finish.  We are a guiding light for many victims who may need guidance on a product liability attorney to choose, and funding for surgical needs due to defective product or legal funding just to pay bills.  We do it all and take substantial risk—unlike most other litigation finance companies—to help our clients and law firms alike.” 

To learn more, or to receive a free case evaluation on your bad product claim or defective product suit claim, or if you are looking for a product liability lawyer or product liability law firm please visit Legal-Bay’s new website built for these types of claims at: https://lawsuitssettlementfunding.com/product-liability.php 

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Member Spotlight: Jessica Fillmore

By John Freund |

Jessica Fillmore, MBA, is Co-Founder of Élan™, a consulting agency that specializes in business growth services. Her extensive background has created a diverse and robust wealth of knowledge and experience in digital media, legal notification strategy and implementation, marketing strategy, legal branding, and campaign building.

During her tenure, she has planned and implemented high-profile, complex legal notice communication programs. Jessica also has vast experience as a digital media expert and has worked with global clients across retail B2B, CPG, Education, and Healthcare industries. She leverages this experience as well as access to top industry tools to effectively plan and execute notification plans. 

Jessica has co-authored and published on various aspects of modern legal notice, online claim filings, and current legal notification in class action litigation. She was a lead contributing author for Élan Legal Media’s “State of Media, 2022”, “Seven Realities of Modern Legal Notice”, and “How We Drive Online Claim Filings”. 

In the course of her legal marketing experience, she has designed legal notices for a wide range of cases including retail customer, defective drug and device, targeted metropolitan area, nationwide, and more, all resulting in a 100% success rate for delivering estimated impressions and notice requirements. She has also served as an expert in determining ways in which firms can increase effectiveness on a number of cases including catastrophic injury, medical malpractice birth injury, product liability, and more. 

Jessica Fillmore is accredited as a Certified Scrum Master by the Scrum Alliance. She has served on the Minnesota Interactive Marketing Association. She has also co-taught an advanced advertising course for MBA candidates at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management. 

Company Name and Description: Elan™ is a strategic marketing and consulting team dedicated to driving measurable business growth. We combine a deep understanding of lead generation, cutting-edge marketing tactics, and optimized lead intake to deliver exceptional results. Our team of experienced analysts, media planners, and creatives specializes in the legal and medical industries, allowing us to tailor our solutions to your unique needs.

Here’s what sets us apart:

  • Data-driven optimization: We leverage advanced analytics to ensure your marketing spend delivers the highest possible return on investment (ROI).
  • Industry expertise: Our team has a proven track record of success in the legal and medical fields, which grants us an understanding of the specific challenges and opportunities you face on a daily basis.
  • Focus on results: We’re not interested in empty promises. We partner with you to achieve tangible growth that moves the needle for your business, and have results that show it.

Élan provides clear and effective marketing solutions to propel your business forward.

Company Websiteelanteams.com 

Year Founded:  2017

Headquarters:  Minneapolis, MN

Area of Focus: Élan works with Litigation Funding Groups to bridge the gap between funded marketing plans and the top tier law firms that support them. When Élan partners with a funded law firm, we work to ensure not only a clear path of transparent data for all campaign stakeholders, but also offer a strategic approach to building and supporting a quality brand for the firm long term — funded or not. We work to build long term partnerships that continuously evolve and grow across every point of the campaign. 

Member Quote

“When working with our litigation funding partners, we eliminate any work a client would typically need to handle. Whether that’s working with the law firm, lead intake team, or even case value reports, we manage every component of a funded marketing campaign so that you can focus on your investors. Our goal is to create a streamlined process while providing transparency for every invested dollar spent.”

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Legislation to ensure the enforceability of LFAs is progressing smoothly through Parliament

By John Freund |

The following is a contributed piece by Tom Webster, Chief Commercial Officer at Sentry Funding.

So far, the Litigation Funding Agreements (Enforceability) Bill has been passing through Parliament without a hitch.

The government is bringing the legislation in response to the Supreme Court’s decision last summer in PACCAR Inc & Ors v Competition Appeal Tribunal & Ors [2023] UKSC 28, which called into question the enforceability of LFAs.

The Bill was briefly introduced into the House of Lords on 19 March, and was debated at second reading on 15 April. During the debate, while some peers discussed the need for regulation of the litigation funding industry and for careful consideration of whether the retrospective nature of the legislation was justified, no peers opposed the Bill – and many welcomed it.

More recently, during scrutiny at grand committee on 29 April, the relatively small number of peers who attended the session broadly supported the Bill, and several spoke in favour of the need for its provisions to be retrospective.

In terms of the Bill’s drafting, the government proposed some small changes at committee stage, which were waved through by peers. The most significant was to address a potential problem with the original drafting where the LFA relates to the payment of costs rather than funding the provision of advocacy or litigation services.

The problem was that, in the original wording, it could be argued that the Bill only applied to the funding of costs that relate to court proceedings, but not those relating to arbitration, or settlements. This has now been resolved by new wording to make clear that an LFA may relate to the payment of costs following court, tribunal or arbitration proceedings, or as part of a settlement. An LFA may also relate to the provision of advocacy or litigation services.

Meanwhile another government amendment was aimed at avoiding problems for litigants-in-person, by ensuring that the definition of LFAs in the Bill includes agreements to fund the expenses of LiPs, for example where they need to pay for an expert’s report.

During grand committee, peers also expressed their approval of the broad terms of reference that have now been published by the Civil Justice Council for its review of litigation funding, which will include an examination of whether the sector should be regulated; and if so, how. Peers commended the speedy timescale that the CJC has set itself, aiming to produce an interim report by the summer, and a full report by summer 2025.

As the Litigation Funding Agreements (Enforceability) Bill continues its journey through Parliament and the CJC begins work on its review, there are clearly significant changes on the way for the litigation funding sector in the UK.

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Darrow Names Mathew Keshav Lewis As Chief Revenue Officer & US General Manager

By John Freund |

Darrow, the leading AI-powered justice intelligence platform, today announced the appointment of Mathew Keshav Lewis as its first Chief Revenue Officer and US General Manager. Lewis brings over 20 years of experience driving revenue and growth for high-profile legal and technology companies – including SaaS platform Dealpath, alternative investment platform Yieldstreet, and legal services pioneer Axiom Law – and will be responsible for helping Darrow scale as it continues an accelerated growth trajectory. 

“Mathew’s arrival at Darrow opens enterprise-level deals to all plaintiff law firms, previously accessible only to a select few,” said Evyatar Ben Artzi, CEO and Co-Founder of Darrow. “His expertise from YieldStreet and Axiom empowers our partners to leverage AI, driving unprecedented growth and innovation.” 

Lewis, who will be based in Darrow’s New York headquarters, joins Darrow after serving as the first Chief Revenue Officer of Dealpath, a real estate deal management platform. He also previously held the role of Chief Revenue Officer and GM, Investments at Yieldstreet, where he drove record revenue and growth for the investment platform. 

“I’m delighted to join a team of tremendously talented individuals at Darrow, who have already disrupted the legal technology space and forged the path ahead,” said Mathew Keshav Lewis, Chief Revenue Officer & US General Manager of Darrow. “I am inspired by Darrow’s progress to date, and I look forward to working alongside Darrow’s growing team to expand the company’s footprint.”

This announcement comes at a period of rapid growth for the company, which completed its $35 million Series B funding round last year. Darrow currently works on active litigation valued over $10 billion across legal domains such as privacy, consumer protection, and antitrust. 

About Darrow: Founded in 2020, Darrow is a LegalTech company on a mission to fuel law firm growth and deliver justice for victims of class and mass action lawsuits. Darrow’s AI-powered justice intelligence platform leverages generative AI and world-class legal experts and technologists to uncover egregious violations across legal domains spanning privacy and data breach, consumer protection, securities and financial fraud, environment, and employment. Darrow is based out of New York City and Tel Aviv. For more information, visit: darrow.ai

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Omni Bridgeway Releases Investment Portfolio Report for 3Q24

By John Freund |

Omni Bridgeway Limited (ASX: OBL) (Omni Bridgeway, OBL, Group) announces the key investment performance metrics for the three months ended 31 March 2024 (3Q24, Quarter) and for the financial year to date (FYTD).

Summary

  • Investment income of A$296 million FYTD; A$56 million provisionally attributable to OBL.
  • 23 full completions, 17 partial completions FYTD, with an overall multiple on invested capital (MOIC) of2.0x.
  • A$333 million of new commitments FYTD with a corresponding A$447 million in new fair value, on track to achieve our A$625 million target.
  • Pricing remains at improved levels, up 32% for the FYTD compared to FY23.
  • Strong pipeline, with agreed term sheets outstanding for an estimated A$212 million in new commitments.
  • OBL cash and receivables of A$101 million plus A$60 million in undrawn debt at 31 March 2024.
  • A$4.4 billion of possible estimated portfolio value (EPV) in completions over the next 12 months. 
  • Further simplification and enhancement of our disclosures as announced at the Annual General Meeting, comprising non-IFRS OBL-only financials and non-IFRS fair value on a portfolio basis and OBL-only basis.
  • These new disclosures and metrics, as well as a valuation framework for our existing book and platform, were presented at our investor day on 27 March 2024.

Refer to https://omnibridgeway.com/investors/investor-day.

Key metrics and developments for the Quarter

Income and completions

  • Investment income of A$296 million generated from A$193 million income recognised and A$103 million income yet to be recognised (IYTBR), with A$56 million provisionally attributable to OBL FYTD (excluding management and performance fees). 
  • During the Quarter, 11 full completions and 11 partial completions (excluding IYTBR), resulting in 23 full completions and 17 partial completions (excluding IYTBR) FYTD, and one secondary market transaction, with a FYTD overall MOIC of 2.0x.

New commitments

  • Our stated targets for FY24 include A$625 million in new commitments or equivalent value, prioritising value over volume to reflect potential for improved pricing of new commitments.
  • FYTD new commitments of A$333 million at 31 March 2024 (from matters that were newly funded, conditionally approved or had increased investment opportunities). 
  • The fair value associated with these commitments is $447million, 72% of the full year value generation target.
  • Pipeline of 37 agreed exclusive term sheets, representing approximately A$212 million in investment opportunities, which if converted into funded investments is a further 34% of our FY24 commitments target.  
  • In addition to the regular new commitments to investments in the existing funds FYTD, an additional A$11.5 million of external co-fundings were secured for these investments to manage fund concentration limits. OBL will be entitled to management fees as well as performance fees on such external co-funding.

Portfolio review

  • A$4.4 billion of EPV is assessed to possibly complete in the 12 months following the end of the quarter. This 12 month rolling EPV is based on investments which are subject to various stages of (anticipated) settlement discussions or for which an award or a judgment is expected. All or only part of these may actually complete during the 12 month period.
  • We anticipate replacing these final EPV metrics with fair value metrics by the end of this financial year.

Cash reporting and financial position

  • At 31 March 2024, the Group held A$100.7 million in cash and receivables (A$62.8 million in OBL balance sheet cash, A$2.0 million in OBL balance sheet receivables and A$35.9 million of OBL share of cash and receivables within Funds) plus access to a further A$60 million in debt.
  • In aggregate, we have approximately A$161 million to meet operational needs, interest payments, and fund investments before recognising any investment completions, secondary market sales, management and transaction fees, and associated fund performance fees.
  • Post Quarter-end and as per the date of this report, in anticipation of the expiry of the availability period of the debt facility, OBL has drawn down the A$60 million in undrawn debt and received the funds.

Investor day

The investor day presentation and Q&A which took place on 27 March 2024 can be viewed at https://omnibridgeway.com/investors/investor-day.

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Carpentum Capital Launches Aurigon Litigation Risk Consulting (LRC)

By John Freund |

The team around former Carpentum Capital has launched AURIGON LITIGATION RISK CONSULTING (LRC), a litigation funding intermediary based in Switzerland with a special focus on Latin America. 

Founder and Managing Director Dr. Detlef A. Huber comments: ”AURIGON LRC is combining two worlds, litigation finance and insurance. Both areas are increasingly overlapping. Insurers offer ever more litigation risk transfer products and funders recur to insurance to hedge their risks. Hence complexity and advisory requirements are increasing, especially in still developing markets like Latin America. With our team of lawyers and former re/insurance executives trained in Latin America, the US, UK and Europe we are perfectly suited to advice our clients in any stage of the funding process or in related insurance matters. Our goal is to become the preferred partner for litigation and arbitration funding projects out of Latin American jurisdictions and I am looking forward to this new adventure.”

ABOUT AURIGON

AURIGON Advisors Ltd. is operating as re/insurance consultancy since 2011 with a special focus on dispute resolution and auditing. With AURIGON LRC an intermediary for litigation funding has been launched servicing our clients out of Argentina, Chile, Brazil and Switzerland in Spanish, English, Portuguese and German. With our experience setting up the first Swiss litigation fund dedicated to Latin America (founded 2018), and in the insurance advisory area (since 2011), we are bringing together knowledge of processes and mindsets of the funding and the insurance world. 

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Key Highlights from the Inaugural LF Dealmakers European Edition

By John Freund |

Last week, the LFJ team attended the inaugural LF Dealmakers European Edition, held across two days at the Royal Lancaster in London. Building on the longstanding success of Dealmakers’ New York event, the first edition of the European conference brought together an impressive selection of leaders from across the industry.

Spread across two days, LF Dealmakers featured an agenda packed with insightful conversations between some of the most prominent thought leaders in the European litigation finance market. An array of panel discussions covered everything from the looming potential of regulation to the increasing corporate adoption of third-party funding, with these sessions bolstered by a keynote interview between two of the key figures in the Post Office Horizon litigation.

A long road to justice for the postmasters

In a conference that managed to fill every single panel discussion with speakers engaged in some of the largest and most influential funded disputes taking place in Europe, the standout session of the two days provided unparalleled insight into one of the most famous cases of recent years. The keynote interview on ‘The Future of Litigation Funding in the Wake of the Post Office Horizon Scandal’ saw James Hartley, Partner and National Head of Dispute Resolution Freeths, and Neil Purslow, Founder & CIO, Therium, offer up a behind-the-scenes tale of the sub-postmasters campaign for justice.

Going back to their first involvement with the case, James Hartley reminded attendees that whilst those looking at the case post-judgement “might think it was a slam dunk”, this was not the viewpoint of the lawyers and funders who first agreed to lead the fight against the Post Office. As Hartley described it, this was a situation where you had “a government owned entity who would fight to the end”, with a multitude of potential issues facing the claimants, including the existence of criminal convictions, the limited amounts of documented evidence, and the fact that the Post Office was the party that had ninety percent of the data, documents, and evidence.

Hartley also offered his own perspective on the legal strategy adopted by the Post Office and its lawyers, noting that at every stage of the litigation, “every single issue was fought hard.” He went on to explain that whilst he was “not critical” of the defendant’s strategy in principle, there remains the underlying issue that “the arguments they made were not consistent with the evidence we were seeing.” Hartley used this particular point to illuminate the issues around defendant strategies in the face of meritorious litigation that is being funded. He summarised the core issue by saying: “There is nothing wrong with fighting hard, but it’s got to be within the rules, and in a way that helps the court get to a just outcome.”

Offering praise for the support provided by Purslow and the team at Therium to finance the case, Hartley stated plainly that “without Therium’s funding it would not have gone anywhere, it would not have even got off the ground.” Both Purslow and Hartley also used the case to highlight problems around the lack of recoverability for funding costs and how that incentivises defendants such as the Post Office to prolong litigation and inflate legal costs. Hartley said that he would welcome a change to rules that would allow such recoverability, arguing that in this case “it would have neutralised the Post Office’s strategy to just keep driving up costs on the claimants side.”

What problem is regulation solving?

It was unsurprising to find that questions around the future of regulation for the litigation funding industry were a regular occurrence at LF Dealmakers, with the event taking place only a few days on from the House of Lords’ debate on the Litigation Funding Agreements (Enforceability) bill. From the opening panel to conversations held in networking breaks between sessions, speakers and attendees alike discussed the mounting pressure from government and corporate opponents of third-party funding.

The view from the majority of executives at the event seemed to revolve around one question, which was succinctly put by Ben Moss from Orchard Global: “What are the specific issues that require regulation, and what is the evidence to support those issues?”

This question became somewhat of a rallying cry throughout the conference, with suggestions of increased scrutiny and oversight being turned back on the industry’s critics who make claims of impropriety without citing evidence to back up these claims. Whilst several speakers referenced the recent LFJ poll that found a broad majority are open to the potential for new regulation, Ben Knowles from Clyde & Co described a lot of the discourse around the issue as “a fairly partisan debate.”

Among the few speakers in attendance who offered a contrasting view on regulation, Linklaters’ Harriet Ellis argued that “regulation done right would be good for the industry.” However, even Ellis acknowledged that any rules would have to be carefully crafted to provide a framework that would work across the wide variety of funded disputes, saying that a “one size fits all approach does raise issues.”

Regarding the government’s own approach to the issue through the draft legislation making its way through parliament, all of the executives in attendance praised lawmakers’ attempts to find a solution quickly. Alongside these government-led efforts, there was also a feeling among legal industry leaders that funders and law firms have to be part of the solution by promoting more education and understanding about how litigation finance works in practice. Richard Healey from Gately emphasised the need for firms to engage in “hearts and minds work” to change wider perceptions, whilst Harbour’s Maurice MacSweeney emphasised the need to “create the environment where law firms and funders can flourish.”

Innovation through collaboration

Outside of the narrow debate around legislation and regulation, much of the conference was focused on the speed at which litigation finance continues to evolve and create new solutions to meet complex demands from the legal industry. This was perhaps best represented in the way speakers from a variety of organisations discussed the need for a collaborative approach, with executives from funders, insurers, law firms, investors and brokers, all discussing how the industry can foster best working practices.

The interplay between the insurance and funding industry was one area that offered plenty of opportunity for insightful discussions around innovation. Andrew Mutter from CAC Speciality noted that even though “insurers are not known for being the fastest and moving the most nimbly,” within the world of litigation risk “the insurance markets are surprisingly innovative.” This idea of an agile and responsive insurance market was backed up by the variety of off the shelf and bespoke products that were discussed during the conference, from the staples of After-The-Event and Judgement Preservation Insurance to niche solutions like Arbitration Default Insurance.

Delving into the increasingly bespoke and tailored approach that insurers can take when working with funders and law firms, Jamie Molloy from Ignite Speciality Risk, described how there are now “very few limits on what can be done by litigation insurers to de-risk.” Whilst there is sometimes a perception that insurers are competing with funders and lawyers for client business, Tamar Katamade at Mosaic Insurance offered the view that it is “more like collaboration and synergy” where all these parties can work together “to help the claimant and improve their cost of capital and reduce duration risk.”

Class action fervour across Europe

Throughout both days of the LF Dealmakers conference, the volume and variety of class actions taking place across the European continent was another hot topic. However, in contrast to an event focused on the American litigation finance market, the common theme at last week’s forum was the wideranging differences between large group claims across individual European jurisdictions. In one of the most insightful panels, the audience were treated to an array of perspectives from thought leaders practicing across the UK, Spain, and the Netherlands.

The example of Spanish class actions provided an incredibly useful view into the nuances of European claims, as a country that is still in the process of implementing legislation to comply with the EU’s collective actions directive, but has already evolved routes for these types of actions over the last decade. Paul Hitchings of Hitchings & Co. described how the initiative to innovate has come “more from the private sector than the legislature”, with domestic law firms having become “experienced with running massive numbers of parallel claims” as an inefficient, yet workable solution. Hitchings contrasted Spain’s situation with its neighbouring jurisdiction of Portugal, which he argued has been comparatively forward thinking due to the country’s popular action law.

Speaking to the Dutch class actions environment, Quirijn Bongaerts from Birkway, argued that the “biggest game changer” in the country was the introduction of a real class actions regime in 2020. Bongaerts explained that the introduction of this system allowed for “one procedure that fits all types of claims”, which allows not only claims for damages, “but also works for more idealistic cases such as environmental cases and ESG cases.”

LFJ would like to extend our thanks to the entire Dealmakers team for hosting such an engaging and insightful event, which not only offered attendees a view into the latest developments in litigation finance, but also created a plethora of networking opportunities throughout both days. LFJ has no doubt that after the success of the inaugural LF Dealmakers European edition, a return to London in 2025 will cement the conference as a must-attend feature in the litigation funding events calendar.

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The CJC’s Review of Litigation Funding Will Have Far-Reaching Effects

By John Freund |

The following is a contributed piece by Tom Webster, Chief Commercial Officer at Sentry Funding.

Reform is on its way for the UK’s litigation funding sector, with the Civil Justice Council firing the starting gun on its review of litigation funding on 23 April.

The advisory body set out the terms of reference for its review, commissioned by lord chancellor Alex Chalk, and revealed the members of its core working group.

The review is working to an ambitious timetable with the aim of publishing an interim report by this summer, and a full report by summer 2025. It will be based on the CJC’s function of making civil justice ‘more accessible, fair and efficient’.

The CJC said it will set out ‘clear recommendations’ for reform in some areas. This includes consideration of a number of issues that could prove very significant for funders and clients. These include:

  • Whether the sector should be regulated, and if so, how and by whom;
  • Whether funders’ returns should be subject to a cap; and if so, to what extent;
  • The relationship between third party funding and litigation costs;
  • The court’s role in controlling the conduct of funded litigation, including the protection of claimants and ‘the interaction between pre-action and post-commencement funding of disputes’;
  • Duties relating to the provision of funding, including potential conflicts of interest between funders, lawyers and clients;
  • Whether funding encourages ‘specific litigation behaviour’ such as collective action.

The review’s core working group will be co-chaired by CJC members Mr Justice Simon Picken, a Commercial Court judge, and barrister Dr John Sorabji. The four other members are:

  • High Court judge Mrs Justice Sara Cockerill, who was judge in charge of the commercial court 2020 – 2022, and who is currently involved in a project on third party funding for the European Law Institute;
  • Academic and former City lawyer Prof Chris Hodges, chair of independent body the Regulatory Horizons Council which was set up to ensure that UK regulation keeps pace with innovation;
  • Lucy Castledine, Director of Consumer Investments at the Financial Conduct Authority; and
  • Nick Bacon KC, a prominent barrister and funding expert who acts for both claimants and defendants

The CJC had said that it may also bring in a consumer representative, as well as a solicitor experienced in group litigation.

In a sign that the review seeks to be informed by a wide range of views, the CJC has also extended an invitation for experts to join a broader consultation group, which will directly inform the work of the review and provide a larger forum for expert discussion. Meanwhile the advisory body has said there will also be further chance ‘for all to engage formally with this review’ later this year.

Given the broad remit of the review and significant impact that its recommendations may have on the litigation funding industry, litigation funders, lawyers and clients would be well advised to make the most of these opportunities to contribute to the review.

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Balancing Risk and Reward in Litigation Finance: Lessons from High-Profile Case

By John Freund |

The following is a contributed piece by Jeff Manley, Chief Operating Officer of Armadillo Litigation Funding.

The allure of substantial returns from mass tort litigation has historically tempted law firms and their third-party financiers to commit resources to speculative cases. While investing strongly in speculative torts certainly has its time and place, prevailing trends highlight the necessity of certain risk management practices. The unpredictable outcomes of high-profile cases, like the Camp LeJeune water contamination lawsuits, accentuate the imperative for a discerning approach to case selection and the strategic diversification of portfolios.

Balancing Opportunity and Prudence in Speculative Torts

Early-stage speculative torts like the Zantac litigation represent a blend of potential and caution. (In re Zantac (Ranitidine) Products Liability Litigation, 2021). Initially, Zantac cases drew significant attention from law firms with projections of substantial compensation figures. However, the legal complexities and subsequent valuation adjustments highlighted the disparity between initial projections and actual compensation figures realized, reinforcing the need for meticulous risk assessment in speculative torts. While similar cases have captivated law firms and financiers with their substantial projections, they also underscore the importance of an exhaustive risk assessment—demonstrating how initial excitement must be tempered with diligent legal analysis and realistic valuation adjustments.

Navigating the Complex Terrain of Camp Lejeune Litigation

The Camp Lejeune water contamination lawsuits represent promising ventures for financiers and mass tort firms to affirm their moral duty by advocating for those who served our country. However, these cases also carry lessons on the pitfalls of overzealous investment without careful scrutiny. The drawn-out nature of the litigation serves as a reminder that while the pursuit of justice is noble, it must be balanced with sound risk management to ensure long term firm stability.

Endurance in Talc Litigation: A Testament to Long-Term Vision

The protracted legal battles surrounding talcum powder’s health risks underscore the necessity for long-term strategic planning in mass tort litigation. Firms must factor in the operational demands and the financial foresight to manage compounded interest on borrowed capital over extensive periods. Simultaneously, it’s critical to sustain investment in new torts, ensuring a balanced portfolio that accommodates both ongoing cases and emerging opportunities. This balanced approach underpins the stamina needed to endure through a decade-long commitment, as exemplified by the talc litigation.

Understanding Returns in the 3M Earplug Litigation

The 3M earplug litigation concluded within a standard timeframe, yet the distribution of settlements spans several years, offering more modest financial returns than many anticipated. This outcome serves as a pragmatic reminder of the nuanced nature of mass tort settlements, where significant payouts are not always immediate or as substantial as predicted. Nonetheless, this reinforces the value of prudent risk management strategies that account for longer payout terms, ensuring a stable financial forecast and the firm’s resilience in the face of lower-than-expected returns.

Strategic Portfolio Diversification

Given these varied experiences, it is imperative that law firm owners and financial backers craft a robust case portfolio strategy. By balancing the mix of cases from speculative to those with a more established settlement trajectory, firms can better manage risk and ensure operational stability. Strategic diversification is not just wise—it’s a vital tactic to maintain resilience in the evolving landscape of the mass tort industry.

The Value of Expert Financial Partnerships

Choosing a reputable and experienced litigation finance partner is essential for law firms aiming to effectively balance their case portfolios. A seasoned funding partner provides invaluable guidance in evaluating potential cases, assessing financial risks, and optimizing investment strategies. Their expertise in navigating the nuanced terrain of litigation finance is a critical asset.

Adopting a balanced portfolio strategy—carefully curated to include a variety of torts at different development stages—provides a more stable foundation than pursuing an “all-in” strategy on a single high-potential tort. This method not only reduces dependency on the success of any single case but also positions the firm more favorably in the eyes of prudent lenders.

Recent high-profile cases in the mass tort arena, like those mentioned above, serve as potent reminders of the inherent uncertainties in litigation finance. For law firm owners and their financial backers, the path forward demands a nuanced view of risk, underscored by strategic portfolio diversification and the cultivation of partnerships with experienced financing entities. By adopting these principles, stakeholders can safeguard their investments against the capricious nature of mass litigation, securing a resilient and prosperous future in the challenging yet rewarding domain of legal finance.

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Westfleet Advisors Announces James Batson as New Chief Operating Officer

By John Freund |

Westfleet Advisors, the premier U.S. litigation finance advisory firm, is delighted to announce the appointment of James “Jim” Batson as its new Chief Operating Officer. Mr. Batson, widely recognized as a leader in litigation finance, brings an extensive portfolio of expertise, including nearly a decade at Omni Bridgeway, most recently as its US Co-CIO, and a former partnership at Liddle & Robinson.

“We are thrilled to welcome Jim to Westfleet,” said Charles Agee, Founder and CEO of Westfleet Advisors. “His impressive track record and deep industry knowledge align perfectly with our strategic goals. Jim’s leadership is set to drive significant growth, reinforcing Westfleet’s role as an essential advisor in the increasingly complex litigation finance market.”

“At a time when the litigation finance industry has reached a critical juncture, requiring sophisticated understanding to navigate its complexities, I am excited to join Westfleet Advisors,” said Mr. Batson. “The industry’s growth and the diversification of funding options have made it imperative for clients to seek knowledgeable and experienced advisors. Westfleet’s long-established expertise in advising on deal structures, pricing, and market trends positions us uniquely to guide our clients to the most advantageous outcomes. I look forward to advancing our mission to deliver unmatched advisory services in this dynamic sector.”

Mr. Batson’s prior roles have honed his skills in developing growth strategies and enhancing client services, with a strong focus on operational excellence and strategic advisory for complex legal disputes.

“Jim’s deep understanding of the industry’s needs and his proven leadership abilities will be instrumental as we expand our advisory services and deepen our engagement with the market,” added Agee.

About Westfleet Advisors

Westfleet Advisors is the leading litigation finance advisor in the United States. Founded in 2013, the company has been instrumental in promoting transparency and efficiency in the litigation finance market. With a team of seasoned experts active since 1998, Westfleet provides clients and their attorneys with essential resources and insights necessary for navigating successful litigation financing.

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Legal-Bay Legal Funding Announces Dedication to Focus on Securities Fraud and FINRA Arbitrations

By John Freund |

Legal-Bay LLC, The Lawsuit Pre Settlement Funding Company, announced today its focus on funding Securities Fraud and FINRA Arbitration cases for the remainder of 2024 and beyond. The legal funding firm has noticed a major deficiency in the legal funding sphere for specialized funding options for Securities Fraud cases and FINRA arbitrations, as these are some of the toughest cases to approve and understand within legal funding.

However, with two decades of experience in funding complex cases of all natures with creative yet straightforward funding solutions, Legal-Bay is widely recognized throughout the lawsuit funding industry as one of the “best lawsuit loan companies” or “go-to funder” for securities fraud cases and FINRA arbitrations against major brokerage firms.

Whether you are a plaintiff that lost a good majority of assets or a law firm looking for case costs to fight a large brokerage firm, or someone who lost assets due to fraud and needs money now, Legal-Bay can help you. Please visit our website geared specifically toward these types of cases, at: https://lawsuitssettlementfunding.com/securities-fraud.php 

Legal-Bay’s team of experts and underwriting department can quickly evaluate the validity of your claim(s) and potential case value and provide you with the capital you need to see your case through. Too often, plaintiffs or lawyers simply cannot wait all the years these complex fraud cases can drag out without obtaining some sort of large cash advance in the meantime.

It is for this reason that Legal-Bay has committed extensive capital to funding plaintiffs and law firms that find themselves in dire financial situations due to instances of securities fraud. To learn more, feel free to call Legal-Bay today to speak with one of our courteous and knowledgeable staff, at: 877.571.0405.

Chris Janish, CEO, commented, “Securities or stock brokerage fraud cases are some of the most difficult in the legal finance industry to evaluate and fund. It is without question that our firm is one of the few niche funders in this space that has the expertise to evaluate your FINRA arbitration case quickly and accurately for settlement value and for needed cash advance approval.”

To apply right now for your Securities Fraud pre-settlement cash advance or FINRA arbitration settlement cash advance, please visit Legal-Bay’s page dedicated solely to these types of cases, at: https://lawsuitssettlementfunding.com/securities-fraud.php 

You don’t have to wait for the money you deserve. Clients only have to pay back the Securities Fraud advance or FINRA Arbitration case loan if and when they win their case, meaning the money is risk-free. All you need in order to apply for the quick and immediate cash relief—typically provided within 24-48 hours following approval—is a lawyer. Even if you don’t yet have a lawyer, Legal-Bay can help you with that too, as Legal-Bay works with the country’s top Securities Fraud attorneys who will fight for you to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.

Legal-Bay is a leader in personal injury lawsuit loans or commercial litigation settlement loans, as commonly referred to by plaintiffs. Although referred to as loans for settlements, the legal funding advances are not pre settlement loans at all, as they only need to be paid back if your case is won. FINRA arbitrations are considered commercial settlement funding and most typical litigation funding firms do not even consider these cases, however, Legal-Bay is happy to freely evaluate your case for funding. Funds can be used for personal use or for paying for expert witnesses or trial costs prior to an arbitration hearing.

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Geradin Partners Opens Paris Office with the Hire of Partner Marc Barennes

By John Freund |

After opening offices in Brussels in 2015, London in 2021, and Amsterdam in 2023, Geradin Partners continues its European expansion with the launch today of its Paris office with the hires of former EU official and competition litigator Marc Barennes and his team. 

Founding partner, Damien Geradin comments: 

“We’re delighted that Marc accepted our offer to open our Paris office. France is a key jurisdiction in Europe, and Marc and his team will help us achieve three goals. First, it allows us to bolster our competition and digital regulation practice. The Paris office will allow us to better serve our clients in France, in particular those in need of strategic advice regarding the DMA (Digital Markets Act), DSA (Digital Services Act) and EU competition law. It will also assist our international clients in interactions with the French competition authority. Second, given his unique experience within the competition authorities and courts, Marc adds further strength to our ability to pursue high-stakes appeals and interventions in relation to competition authority decisions at the French and European levels. Third, Geradin Partners has brought major private actions in the courts, in particular against large tech firms in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, while Marc has been a frontrunner in bringing collective actions in France. With Marc onboard, we will offer a choice between bringing a competition and DMA actions before the Dutch, English or French Courts, depending on which is best for each client”. 

Marc Barennes is a competition litigator with 20-plus years of experience. With over 15 years at the European Commission and the Court of Justice of the European Union, he brings unique expertise in competition law. During his time with European institutions, he was directly involved in more than 350 cases, including more than 70 of the most complex and high-profile European cartel, abuse of dominance, merger and State aid cases. Before joining Geradin Partners, Marc also gained experience over the past five years of damages actions through his role as Executive Director of a leading claim aggregator, and co-founding partner of the first French claimant firm specialized in class actions. Marc has also been a Lecturer at French School of Law, Sciences Po Paris since 2014 and has been a non-governmental advisor to the European Commission and/or the French and Luxembourgish competition authorities for the International Competition Network (ICN) since 2012. He is a member of both the Paris and New York bars. 

Marc Barennes added: 

“I’m honoured and delighted to join Geradin Partners and launch its Paris office. In only a few years, Geradin Partners has become the go-to European firm for all complex competition and digital regulation cases. It now comprises an exceptional team of 20 competition and digital regulation specialists, including five senior former competition agency officials, who work seamlessly on French, EU and UK high-stake cases. The many cases it has already successfully brought against large tech firms before the French, English and EU competition authorities and courts as well as the multi-billion damages claims it has filed against them in the Netherlands and England are a testament to its expertise and its innovative approach to complex competition issues, especially in the digital space. I look forward to assisting French companies both in benefiting from those damage actions and in their most complex cases before the French and EU competition authorities and courts. Our ambition is to expand the Paris office rapidly: applications at the partner and senior associate levels are welcome”. 

About Geradin Partners

Geradin Partners was founded by competition and digital regulation expert Damien Geradin, who has spent the past 25 years working as an attorney, while combining this with an academic career. With a team of seven partners and a total of 20 competition experts based in Paris, Brussels, London and Amsterdam, Geradin Partners is the first European boutique to offer seamless competition law and digital regulation services in major cases throughout the EU and the UK. It is recognized by its clients and peers for its commitment to excellence, as well as for its innovative and strategic approach. 

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SHIELDPAY LAUNCHES GUIDE TO EFFECTIVE LITIGATION SETTLEMENT DISTRIBUTION FOR LEGAL SECTOR

By John Freund |

In the face of increasing demand for better strategies for litigation compensation payments, Shieldpay, the payments partner for the legal sector, has created the Blueprint to Distribution’a step-by-step guide that shares best practice on how to scale efficiently and distribute best-in-class payments for claimants. 

The huge growth in litigation in recent years (total value of UK class actions alone rose from £76.6 billion in 2021 to £102.7 billion in 2022) means the legal sector must adopt strategies that will enable it to scale efficiently with the growing demand. In 2019, the average litigation revenue for a firm in the UK Litigation 50 was £82.4m. That figure had reached £110m by 2023 and is widely predicted to follow this upward trajectory.

Settlement payouts can be a complex and lengthy process without the right support and guidance. The process of distributing funds can often be overlooked until the settlement is finalised, leading to sudden complications, risk concerns and a huge administrative burden on a tight deadline.

Litigation cases are by no means finished once a settlement has been agreed. Depending on the size and complexity of the case, the distribution process can take many months, if not years. Most claimants will want the compensation due to them as quickly as possible, so firms need to plan for a successful and seamless distribution of funds well ahead of time to avoid frustration and uncertainty for their clients.

To help lawyers navigate litigation payments and adopt strategies that will reassure and build trust amongst claimants, Shieldpay’s ‘Blueprint to Distribution’ guide goes through the critical steps teams need to take throughout the case to ensure claimants receive their funds quickly and efficiently. The key to success is planning the distribution process as early as the budget-setting phase, where the payout is considered as part of the case management process to optimise for success. This process also includes developing a robust communications strategy, collecting and cleansing claimant data, and choosing the right payments partner to handle the settlement distribution.

In its guidance for legal practitioners on delivering a successful payout, ‘Blueprint to Distribution’ highlights the need for payment considerations to be aligned and collaborative throughout the lifecycle of a case, not left to be worked out at the end. Working with the right partner enables firms to understand how to design and deliver an optimal payout, taking into account the potential long lead times involved from the initial scoping of a case to the actual payout, with refinements and changes likely to occur to the requirements as a case unfolds. 

Claire Van der Zant, Shieldpay’s Director of Strategic Partnerships, and author of the guide, said: “Last year, the conversation amongst the litigation community was understandably focused on how to get cases to trial. Delays to proceedings arising from evolving case management requirements, including the PACCAR decision, caused delays and frustration amongst those actively litigating cases and striving for final judgements. 

“Fundamentally, legal professionals want to deliver justice and good outcomes for claimants. To do that, we need to think bigger than just a blueprint to trial, and consider a ‘Blueprint to Distribution’, because once a final judgement has been delivered, it doesn’t end there. Delivering a successful distribution requires advance planning and consideration to be effective and efficient. This step-by-step guide aims to help law firms, administrators and litigation funders deliver the best payment experience and outcome for claimants.” 

For the full ‘Blueprint to Distribution’ guide visit www.shieldpay.com/blueprint-to-distribution

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An LFJ Conversation with Jonathan Stroud

By John Freund |

Jonathan Stroud is General Counsel at Unified Patents, where he
manages a growing team of talented, diverse attorneys and oversees a
docket of administrative challenges, appeals, licensing, pooling, and
district court work in addition to trademark, copyright,
administrative, amicus, policy, marketing, and corporate matters.


Prior to Unified, he was a patent litigator, and prior to that, he was
a patent examiner at the USPTO. He earned his J.D. with honors from
the American University Washington College of Law; his B.S. in
Biomedical Engineering from Tulane University; and his M.A. in Print
Journalism from the University of Southern California. He enjoys
teaching, writing, and speaking on patent and administrative law and
litigation finance.

Unified is a 350+ international membership organization that seeks to
improve patent quality and deter unsubstantiated or invalid patent
assertions in defined technology sectors (Zones) through its
activities. Its actions are focused broadly in Zones with substantial
assertions by Standards Essential Patents (SEP) holders and/or
Non-Practicing Entities (NPEs). These actions may include analytics,
prior art, invalidity contests, patentability analysis, administrative
patent review (IPR/reexam), amicus briefs, economic surveys, and
essentiality studies. Unified works independently of its members to
achieve its deterrence goals. Small members join for free while larger
ones pay modest annual fees.

Below is our LFJ Conversation with Jonathan Stroud:

1)   Unified Patents describes itself as an “anti-troll.” You claim to
be the only entity that deters abusive NPEs and never pays. Can you
elaborate?

In the patent risk management space, Unified is the only entity that
works to deter and disincentivize NPE assertions.  Because of the
expense and economics of patent litigation, parties often settle for
money damages less than the cost of defending themselves, paying the
entity, often for non-meritorious assertions. This allows them to
remain profitable, thus fueling and incentivizing future assertions,
regardless of merit. Unified is the only solution designed to counter
that dynamic.  That is why Unified never pays NPEs. This ensures that
Unified never incentivizes further NPE activity. By focusing on
deterrence, Unified never acts as a middleman, facilitating licensing
deals between NPEs and implementors.

2) How does Unified Patents work with litigation funders, specifically?

As many NPE suits are funded or controlled by third parties, we are
often called to consult on and seek to understand litigation funding
and the economics of assertion.  Among other things, we provide filing
data, funding information, reports, and other work related to funding
and also run a consulting business related to negotiations and aspects
of dealmaking affected by litigation funding.  For example, we have
helped identify that at least 30% of all U.S. patent litigation filed
in recent years has been funded (up through 2020), through one
mechanism or another.  We will continue to work to understand the
marketplace and transactions, and endeavor to provide the best insight
into the marketplace that our data affords.

3)  With Judge Connolly’s recent ruling, disclosure has become a hot
topic in the US. How do you see this ruling impacting IP litigation
going forward?

Well before Chief Judge Connolly’s actions, litigation funding
disclosure has been a topic of discussion at the judicial conference,
among other judges, and amongst those implementing and revising the
Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, not to mention Congress and the SEC.
The Judicial Conference has been called to revise the disclosure rules
for over a decade.  Similar disclosure orders or rules applied in New
Jersey, California, Michigan, and another dozen district courts
nationwide, in addition to numerous rulings on admissibility and
relevance in Federal and state courts stretching back decades.  Chief
Judge Connolly’s order has attracted outsized interest in the patent
community in particular.  It quickly exposed some of the 500 or so
cases filed annually by IP Edge as funded, as well as the high number
of patent plaintiffs in Delaware.   Calls for disclosure did not begin
with Judge Connolly; has been a continuing ongoing debate stretching
back decades. Insurance disclosures go back to the early 70s, and
other types of loans or financial instruments are already subject to
certain disclosure rules, in court, governmentally, or by regulators.
Moving forward, the increasing prevalence of litigation funding and
the rising awareness among the judiciary and bar will mean fitful
district-specific under- and over-disclosure until a national rule is
put in place through the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  It’s
inevitable.  It’s just a matter of time.

4) Insurers seem to be shying away from judgment preservation
insurance at the moment–is this a trend you see continuing, and how
might this impact IP litigation?

Insurance markets are often dominated by sales-side pressures and so
are susceptible to irrational exuberance and overpromotion of certain
policies.  Couple that with competition amongst brokers to offer
attractive terms for a “new” product, and you have pressures that have
driven down offered rates, a trend that seems to be reversing itself
now. To be sure, judgment preservation has existed in some form for
many years through other funding and insurance sources, and you’ve
always been able to buy and sell claims and judgments on appeal.

The increased emphasis on judgment preservation insurance seems driven
by a handful of brokers successfully selling rather large policies,
coupled with a glut of interest; my understanding is that some of the
recent (and predictable) remand on appeal have dampened
the enthusiasm of that market a tad, but that really just means rates
returning to reasonable levels (or at least growing resistant to
sales-side pressure).  The small JPI market should stabilize,
affording successful plaintiffs the option, and in turn extending
appellate timelines and recovery timelines, especially in
higher-profile damages award cases.  It will generally prevent
settlements below the insured threshold. It should also provide some
incentive to sue and to chase large damages awards in the first place,
if it becomes clear that JPI will be available after a judgment,
allowing for less well-capitalized plaintiffs to recover earlier and
avoid binary all-or-nothing outcomes.

Additionally, the Federal Circuit and other appellate courts will
eventually grapple with the “disclosure gap.” That is, the Federal
Rules of Civil Procedure insurance policies since the 1970s must be
disclosed at the trial level, but not yet at the appellate level; but
the same concerns that animated the 1970 amendments to the FRCP now
apply on appeal, with the rise of JPI.  Circuits will have to
grapple with adopting disclosure rules for insurance policies
contingent upon appeal.

5)   What trends are you seeing in the IP space that is relevant to
litigation funders, and how does Unified Patents’ service fit into
those trends?

Early funding stories were dominated by larger cases and portfolios,
but we are now seeing a trend of much smaller cases being funded, and,
in the case of both IP Edge and AiPi Solutions, with certain patent
aggregators getting creative and funding entire suites of very small
nuisance cases.  We see funding now at all levels, from the IP Edges
of the world to the Burfords, and there is a trend toward investing in
pharmaceutical ANDA litigation and ITC cases.  Both should continue,
which should extend cases, increase the duration and expense of
litigation, and should drive more licensing.  Unified will continue to
seek to deter baseless assertions and will continue to identify,
discuss, and detail the structures, funding arrangements, and suits
related to litigation funding, and continue to show how much funding
is now dominating U.S. patent litigation, to the extent it is knowable.

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Launch of New Subsidiary, Orington & Partners

By John Freund |

Orington Capital (“OC”), today launched an international, Australian headquartered subsidiary, Orington & Partners (“O&P”). O&P specialises in management consulting, legal and dispute financing advisory, restructuring and corporate advisory mandates across the globe including Australia, the United States, India, UAE, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. In addition, O&P provides investment banking and capital raising services in India.

O&P has been founded by entrepreneurs and corporate professionals combining vibrancy and rigour.  The firm prides itself on being new-age that understands how rapidly changing technology impacts businesses. O&P’s target market are mid-market businesses that are seeking a collaboration-first, solutions approach. As a result we are flexible with how we package our solutions to tailor to each business’s needs and financial position. 

The firm is led by Kashish Grover, Managing Partner and CEO, and supported by Orington Capital which provides broad global expertise in owning and investing in various businesses/assets, a larger footprint and access to its investment balance sheet in which few professional service firms are fortunate enough to gain access to.

“I’m extremely excited to be joining Orington & Partners as a Founding Partner, in which we look to provide to an underserved mid-market a breadth of exceptional strategy, transactions and legal finance advisory services, unrivalled by any other in the market. Additionally, our experience combines international best practices with new-age thinking understanding that technology continues to evolve and change the business landscape. ” Mr Grover expressed.

Wei-Khing Seow (Executive Chair of O&P and Managing Director of OC) commented: “We are fortunate to bring on board such an amazing talent and leader in Kashish. He brings a truly exceptional combination of integrity, passion for listening and learning, as well as an unparalleled level of pragmatic smarts.

O&P is positioned to service clients uniquely as a one-stop shop that can help your business grow and improve, whether it be organically and/or inorganically. Lastly, we will help your business create value and monetise legal assets that few other firms in the world can do.”

Please see Orington & Partners’ website for a list of specific services and jurisdictions we provide services to. We welcome both direct enquiries and referrals.

About Orington & Partners

Orington & Partners is an Australia headquartered, international firm specialising in management consulting, legal and dispute financing advisory, restructuring and corporate advisory mandates across the globe including Australia, the United States, India, UAE, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. We also provide investment banking and capital raising services in India.  Visit orington.com/orington–partners for further details.

About Orington Capital

Orington Capital is an Australian family owned and operated investment firm. Established in 2021. Its business holdings and activities originated in Australia but are increasingly international. Uniquely, Orington invests holistically and unconstrained across the entire capital and investment structure in both private and public markets. Orington provides bespoke capital and can attach dedicated business support service solutions to its investments and portfolio companies.  ACN: 664 474 640. Visit orington.com for further details.

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An LFJ Conversation with Nick Wood

By John Freund |

Nick Wood has been involved in structuring and financing numerous litigation strategies over many years. After a long career in wealth management and many allied business ventures, he established Audley Capital in late 2022. Audley has grown rapidly to be a leading light in the litigation funding industry, bringing together investment capital, legal excellence and case origination.

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QUINN EMANUEL AND LONGFORD CAPITAL TO OFFER LITIGATION FUNDING TO PRIVATE EQUITY CLIENTS

By John Freund |

In a groundbreaking agreement, Longford Capital Management, LP and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP announced a litigation financing offering for private equity (PE) firms and their portfolio companies. Under the terms of today’s deal, Longford has committed up to $40M in equity capital to Quinn Emanuel’s private equity clients involved in litigation, funding attorneys’ fees and litigation costs and monetizing the value of meritorious legal claims.

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