Special Features

Special Features

178 Articles

An LFJ Conversation with Michael Kelley, Partner, Parker Poe

By John Freund |

Parker Poe traces its roots to 1884, when it was founded by a future North Carolina Supreme Court justice. In the early 1950s, World War II veterans Francis Parker and Bill Poe became partners. Their names and commitment to public service have been part of the fabric of the firm ever since.

‘LFJ Conversations’ is an original content series produced by the editorial team at Litigation Finance Journal and featuring the leading thought leaders from throughout the global litigation finance community.’

For more than a century, Parker Poe has represented many of the Southeast’s largest companies and local governments in transactions, regulatory issues, and complex litigation. The business law firm has more than 250 attorneys serving clients from eight offices in Charlotte and Raleigh, North Carolina; Charleston, Columbia, Greenville, and Spartanburg, South Carolina; Atlanta, Georgia; and Washington DC. Parker Poe uses a cross-disciplinary, collaborative approach to provide comprehensive solutions to their clients.

What led you to make the move to Litigation Finance?

My move to Litigation Finance was coincidental. In 2012, a litigation funder retained me to assist with the structuring and formation of its second international fund. Shortly after, they offered me the opportunity to work on all their litigation funding transactional work. In the past ten years, my litigation funding practice has grown exponentially, representing over 90% of my professional time. 

Litigation funding allows me to practice and use both areas of my background in finance and law. Moreover, the bespoke nature of litigation finance transactions requires creativity to achieve the right mix of aligned incentives for all parties involved in the transaction. 

I appreciate this remarkable opportunity to foster the growth of and to help define this maturing asset class. And I love working with all my clients, whether they are litigation funders, law firms, or claimants.

How does your experience in non-profits and social impact investments inform your work in Litigation Finance?

People frequently ask me about the corporate-related work I rely on for structuring litigation finance transactions. More than M&A, I rely on my investment funds formation background for finding creative solutions to unique structuring challenges. I have especially drawn on my work with social impact investment funds and transactions. 

For example, I have created mini-funds of pooled capital that play a first-loss capital tranche role, providing those investors an opportunity for out-size return while paving the way for raising traditional litigation finance. Traditional litigation funders have appreciated having that first-loss cushion to mitigate the risk of loss on their investment (a form of insurance). For the funded party, the first-loss pooled capital tranche unlocked the door to receive an aggregate of $60 million for financing a portfolio of claims. I have also drawn on my fund formation work for structuring innovative waterfall structures to balance incentives among participants in the litigation funding transaction.

Can you talk about the interplay between Litigation Funding and social justice?

It is often cliche that litigation funding provides access to justice. However, every day I see highly meritorious claims that would otherwise not be able to be advanced but for litigation finance. I have seen this in individual claims and portfolios of claims across a wide range of cases, including intellectual property, international arbitration, corporate disputes, and, of course, in the personal injury and mass tort space.  

Money alone should not be the sole barrier to pursuing meritorious claims. Litigation Finance helps level the financial playing field for claims prosecution/monetization.

How do you think GCs can be convinced to utilize Litigation Funding?

I was a GC for over 17 years and wish I had access to litigation finance during that time. The value proposition for GCs and in-house legal departments is clear: legal claims are assets that can and should play a vital role in a company’s financial health and growth. Litigation finance permits GCs to turn dormant claims or claims they cannot otherwise pursue due to financial budgets into sources of revenue. 

Instead of in-house legal teams being viewed solely as cost centers, those departments can become revenue and profit centers for the companies without adding any additional legal risk to the company. In addition, the GCs can become heroes inside their companies! I would even go so far as to say that GCs not taking advantage of litigation funding to pursue their company’s claims are not acting responsibly. 

I would further argue the same for law firms who need to understand litigation funding and what it can do for law firm clients and build contacts in the industry to properly service law firm clients.

Michael P. Kelley, Partner, Parker Poe

Kelley is a thought leader in the industry with more than ten years of experience assisting US and International litigation funders, law firms, and claimants. He is one of Lawdragon’s “Top 10 Global Advisors in Litigation Finance” and a frequent speaker on key industry issues. 

Kelly has over 25 years of experience in the legal finance industry. He is the former general counsel of EMP Global, overseeing $8 billion in assets across different investment funds in emerging markets. 

He has a JD from Antonin Scalia School of Law, George Mason University, and a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics and Political Sciences.

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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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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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Key Takeaways from LFJ’s Special Digital Event “Litigation Finance: Investor Perspectives”

By John Freund |

On Thursday April 4th, 2024, Litigation Finance Journal hosted a special digital event titled “Litigation Finance: Investor Perspectives.” The panel discussion featured Bobby Curtis (BC), Principal at Cloverlay, Cesar Bello (CB), Partner at Corbin Capital, and Zachary Krug (ZK), Managing Director at NorthWall Capital. The event was moderated by Ed Truant, Founder of Slingshot Capital.

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Does Consumer Legal Funding Put Consumers in Debt?

By John Freund |

The following article was contributed by Eric Schuller, President of the Alliance for Responsible Consumer Legal Funding (ARC).

There has been a lot of discussion if Consumer legal funding is a loan and thereby creates debt for a consumer Consumer legal funding, sometimes called litigation funding or lawsuit funding, provides cash upfront to plaintiffs, to be used for household needs, which are involved in legal proceedings in exchange for a portion of the eventual settlement or judgment. It doesn’t create debt like a loan from a bank or credit card, these distinctions contribute to its classification as a unique financial product rather than a loan or debt.

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Legal and Ethical Considerations When Navigating Litigation Finance

By John Freund |

The following post was contributed by Jeff Manley, Chief Operating Officer of Armadillo Litigation Funding

In litigation finance, especially in mass torts and class actions, trust and success hinge on unwavering ethical practice and legal compliance. For attorneys and financial professionals navigating this complex field, a steadfast commitment to upholding ethical standards is not just ideal—it’s imperative. This article delves into the crucial considerations that must guide the intricate relationship between legal funding and professional integrity.

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Member Spotlight: Michael Perich

By John Freund |

Michael Perich is a Senior Vice President and Head of Litigation Insurance in the Transaction Liability Practice at Lockton.  Prior to joining Lockton, Michael spent much of his career working at the world’s largest litigation finance company, Burford Capital, as well as a Chambers-ranked litigation finance broker, Westfleet Advisors. In these roles, he helped a wide range of clients—including multinational corporations and AmLaw100 firms—use innovative litigation finance structure to achieve their financial objectives.

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Highlights from Brown Rudnick’s Litigation Funding Conference 2024

By John Freund |

Last week, Brown Rudnick hosted its third annual European Litigation Funding Conference, proving once again to be one of the premier gatherings of industry thought leaders and executives. The one-day event featured an agenda full of insightful discussions, as senior representatives from funders, law firms, insurers, and other industry firms, all provided their perspectives on the most pressing issues facing the European funding market. The conference served as a reminder of the growing interest in litigation finance, as the venue was packed with attendees and without an empty seat in sight at the start of proceedings.

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Upholding the Duty of Client Confidentiality During the Funding Process

By John Freund |

The following article was contributed by Jeff Manley, Chief Operating Officer of Armadillo Litigation Funding

In the competitive landscape of litigation, the strategic use of litigation financing has become a vital tool for law firms to manage cash flow, mitigate risk, and level the playing field. However, the infusion of external capital into the legal process brings forth intricate ethical considerations, particularly concerning client confidentiality.

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Member Spotlight: Dinesh Natarajan

By John Freund |

Trident Strategy is a Singapore-based strategic consultancy that Dinesh Natarajan founded and leads as CEO. Dinesh have over 9 years of experience in law, management consulting, and litigation, and helps clients across various sectors and geographies to achieve their goals in the strategic partnerships and sports, media and entertainment industries. Dinesh combines his skills and knowledge in strategy, legal finance, and arbitration to deliver value-added solutions and insights.

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Key Takeaways from LFJs Digital Event: Litigation Finance: What to Expect in 2024

By John Freund |

On February 8th, 2024, Litigation Finance Journal hosted a special digital event titled ‘Litigation Finance: What to Expect in 2024.’  The event featured Gian Kull, Senior Portfolio Manager at Omni Bridgeway, David Gallagher, Co-Founder of LitFund, Justin Brass, Co-CEO and Managing Director of JBSL, and Michael German, Co-Founder and CIO at Lex Ferenda. The event was moderated by Peter Petyt, founder of 4 Rivers.

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An LFJ Conversation with Tanya Lansky, Managing Director of LionFish

By John Freund |

Tanya Lansky is Managing Director of LionFish and has been working in the disputes finance and insurance industries for close to a decade. After reading law in London Tanya sought to abstain from treading the traditional legal pathways, and instead began her career at TheJudge Global, the then independent specialist broker of litigation insurance and funding. Tanya then joined boutique advisory firm Emissary Partners to leverage her relationships in the market and her economic understanding of disputes as an asset.

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Member Spotlight: Steven Weisbrot

By John Freund |

Steven Weisbrot is an internationally recognised class action expert who is known for innovative data-based media and bookbuilding plans as well as class and collective action claims administration and distributions. He regularly writes and lectures on class action notice and is a widely sought out speaker to address industry conferences across the globe, as well as bar associations and private law firms, on the best methodologies to communicate with large audiences and driving them to act.

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Gross v. Net Return Dispersion in Commercial Litigation Finance

By John Freund |

The following is an article contributed by Ed Truant, founder of Slingshot Capital,

Executive Summary

  • Gross v. Net return dispersion needs to be considered by investors & fund managers
  • While present in many private equity classes, managers that can limit dispersion can attract more capital for a given return profile
  • Wide dispersion prevents many institutional investors from considering investing in the asset class
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Managing Duration Risk in Litigation Finance (Part 2 of 2)

By John Freund |

The following is the second of a two-part series (Part 1 can be found here), contributed by Ed Truant, founder of Slingshot Capital,

Executive Summary

  • Duration risk is one of the top risks in litigation finance
  • Duration is impossible to determine, even for litigation experts
  • Risk management tools are available and investors should make themselves aware of the tools and their costs prior to making their first investment
  • Diversification is critical in litigation finance
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Insights on Portfolio Funding for Law Firms

By John Freund |

The following article was contributed by Peter Petyt, CEO of 4 Rivers Services, a third-party funding advisory and legal project management firm.  

Peter is undertaking part-time doctoral research at the University of Westminster in London to explore how law firms can ensure that they are suitable for portfolio funding and how can funders best evaluate which law firms to support. In his thesis, he will be examining the different ethical and regulatory challenges in various jurisdictions and analyzing the characteristics of legal case types which make them suitable or unsuitable for inclusion in a funded portfolio. The research will complement the existing 4 Rivers know-how which has been developed to help law firms and claimants secure third-party funding.

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An LFJ Conversation with Geoffrey White, General Counsel and Chief IP Counsel, SilcoTek

By John Freund |

Geoffrey White is General Counsel, Chief IP Counsel, and on the Board of Directors at SilcoTek, a high-tech materials science manufacturing company in the United States. At SilcoTek, Geoffrey balances his role as an attorney, an IP strategist, and a manufacturing executive. He also separately launched Innovative Product (IP) Manufacturing to help commercialize and monetize more innovative ideas (see www.IP-mfg.com).

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Member Spotlight: Maros Kravec

By John Freund |

Maros founded LitFin in 2018 after spending several years as a business director of a successful property development company in Manchester, the United Kingdom. As LitFin’s managing partner, Maros handles its day-to-day activities, business strategy and investments. Lately, his primary focus revolves around LitFin SICAV, a recently established fully-regulated fund, perhaps the first of its kind within the EU area focused on the litigation finance industry.

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