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Spear’s Releases Best Litigation Funders Ranking for HNW Individuals

By Harry Moran |

Whilst most coverage of third-party legal funding focuses on high profile disputes, from large-scale class actions to complex international arbitration proceedings, the services provided by litigation funders are equally highly valued by those wealthy individuals who may find themselves embroiled in costly legal cases.

The wealth management and luxury lifestyle magazine Spear’s has released its ranking of the best litigation funding providers for high-net-worth (HNW) individuals in the UK, covering those providers who support disputes ranging from divorces to large corporate cases. Spear’s Head of Research, Ian Douglas highlighted that these litigation funders offer HNW couples “the vital financial support they need to access the legal system on an equal footing”, and “can empower clients to secure a fair settlement in an efficient and cost-effective manner.”

The complete list of Spear’s litigation funding index is as follows:

  • Katie Alexiou, Level
  • Christopher Bogart, Burford Capital
  • John Byrne, Therium
  • Alex Cooke, Schneider Financial Solutions
  • Susan Dunn, Harbour Litigation Funding
  • Steven Friel, Woodsford
  • Camilla Funari-Sherman, Rhea Family Finance
  • Alex Hulbert, Schneider Financial Solutions
  • Mark King, Harbour Litigation Funding
  • Ellora MacPherson, Harbour Litigation Funding
  • Neil Purslow, Therium
  • George Williamson, Level

Among these ranked individuals, Spear’s highlighted the following four providers as ‘names to know’: Katie Alexiou (Level), Ellora MacPherson (Harbour), Camilla Funari-Sherman (Rhea Family Finance), and Alex Cooke (Schneider).

Spear’s Research Unit selects and ranks the providers in its index through a combination of detailed market research by interviewing industry participants, soliciting information from candidates for ranking, and employing a proprietary weighted scoring system to evaluate the providers’ practices.

Backed by Funders, Provenio Litigation Reaches £1 Billion in Litigation Instructions

By Harry Moran |

An announcement from Provenio Litigation revealed that the boutique litigation firm has reached £1 billion in litigation instructions only five years after it launched in 2019. The firm, which was founded by a team of senior litigation lawyers from DLA Piper, has grown the business to expand its services across different areas of litigation and into new jurisdictions, backed by partnerships with third-party funders.

Mark Goodwin, founder and managing partner of Provenio, said that despite the difficulties faced by founding the firm shortly before the Covid pandemic, the ability “to attract business litigation instructions with a combined value of £1 billion shows how far we have come over the last five years.” Goodwin noted that this growth means the firm is now involved in cases across Europe, North America, South America, and the Middle East. 

Explaining the success of Provenio’s growth strategy, Goodwin said that this has been achieved “by attracting high value instructions, breaking into new areas of work and growing the business with a number of our high value cases being supported by the leading litigation funders.” The firm has also broadened its services with the launch earlier this year of Optimise, Provenio’s own insolvency litigation financing solution, which offers support to insolvency practitioners pursuing litigation against directors and third parties.

Opt-Out Claim Brought Against Valve for Alleged Breaches of Competition Law

By Harry Moran |

As LFJ reported in October of last year, Milberg London had previously announced that it had secured litigation funding from Bench Walk Advisors to bring a claim against Valve Corporation, one of the world’s largest gaming companies.

An article from CDR covers the news that this claim has now been formally brought against Steam, the games marketplace owned by Valve, over allegations that it breached UK competition law resulting in consumers being overcharged for purchases from the video game distributor. The opt-out claim was filed last week in the Competition Appeal Tribunal by Vicki Shotbolt, founder of the online safety advocacy group Parent Zone, and is being brought on behalf of up to 14 million UK consumers. The total value of the claim is estimated to reach £656 million, with the affected consumers potentially entitled to compensation of £22 to £44 if the claim is successful.

At the heart of the claim being brought against Steam, is the allegation that its use of a ‘price parity’ condition on game developers results in the end-consumer being charged an excessive price on games. This is because price parity prevents developers from selling the title at a lower price through other distributors, which combined with Steam’s 30% commission on all sales means that consumers are forced to pay an inflated price.

Shotbolt says that the claim aims to hold Valve “to account for breaking the law”, arguing that the company must be stopped from “abusing its dominant position to force publishers to sign up to illegal trading terms and tying consumers in and charging excessive prices.” 

Milberg London are acting for the proposed class, with representation by Robert Palmer KC, Julian Gregory and Will Perry of Monckton Chambers. As aforementioned, third-party funding has been secured from Bench Walk Advisors.

Natasha Pearman, partner at Milberg London, describes Valve’s monopolistic behaviour as part of its “stranglehold on the PC gaming market”, and that the Steam platform “has essentially taken away normal competition by introducing this price parity provision, so there’s no ability for real competition to thrive or emerge on alternative distribution channels.” For more information about the opt-out claim, visit the Steam You Owe Us website.

NORTHWALL CAPITAL RAISES MORE THAN €640M FOR EUROPEAN OPPORTUNITIES STRATEGY

By Harry Moran |

NorthWall Capital (“NorthWall”), a leading credit investment firm delivering private capital solutions to counterparties in Western Europe, today announces the final close of its flagship NorthWall European Opportunities Fund II and associated vehicles (“NWEOF II” or “the Fund”), attracting more than €640m in investor commitments.

The Fund and associated vehicles surpassed the €500m target, receiving strong support from new and existing global institutional investors and more than doubling the size of its predecessor, NorthWall European Opportunities Fund I (“NWEOF I”).

NorthWall’s European Opportunities strategy, established at the firm’s inception in 2017, invests across the broad opportunity set in European opportunistic private credit by delivering scalable private capital solutions to counterparties in Western Europe. NorthWall’s systematic sourcing approach, coupled with a focus on creating bespoke funding solutions, enables the firm to structure opportunities that deliver strong downside protection while targeting uncorrelated returns. The strategy also makes tactical allocations to areas of dislocation and has successfully participated in the dislocation in asset-backed opportunities. 

Prior to the final closing, NWEOF II was already substantially deployed, having committed c. 60% of its capital to 14 transactions across five countries in Western Europe.

The Fund attracted capital commitments from a global base of institutional investors, consisting of pension funds, insurance companies, large institutional single and multi-family offices and private banks from across Europe, North America and APAC. The Fund received strong support from a large US-based consultant and an Australian superannuation fund.

The firm’s principals have been investing in European private credit for nearly 20 years, and the NorthWall team has deployed over €1.0bn in the European Opportunistic Credit strategy to date. In addition to the flagship funds, the firm has extensive expertise in legal assets, asset-backed and senior lending opportunities. 

Fabian Chrobog, Founder & Chief Investment Officer of NorthWall Capital, said: “We are honoured by the success of the fundraise for NWEOF II and would like to thank our existing and new investors globally for their partnership. We remain committed to delivering scalable investment opportunities that generate attractive risk-adjusted returns for our investors while also serving as a reliable partner to our counterparties. We continue to observe one of the most compelling opportunity sets in European credit in recent history and will continue to thoughtfully scale NorthWall in a way that allows us to lean into areas of dislocation. I also wanted to congratulate and thank the NorthWall team that has been working tirelessly to deliver the best outcomes for our stakeholders.”

About NorthWall Capital

NorthWall Capital is a London-based credit investment firm, delivering private capital solutions to counterparties in Western Europe. The firm manages €1.5bn of AUM in long dated funds on behalf of global institutional investors, seeking to capture compelling risk-adjusted returns from Western European credit markets.

For more information, please visit www.northwallcap.com.

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JBSL Appoints Jonathan Weitz as Managing Director and Head of Advisory Services

By Harry Moran |

In a post on LinkedIn, JBSL announced the appointment of Jonathan Weitz as Managing Director and Head of JBSL Advisory Services. 

Weitz joins the JBSL team having most recently served for the past three years as a Vice President at Evercore’s financial services advisory group. Weitz’ brings nearly a decade of experience in the financial services industry, including over six years at Keefe, Bruyette and Woods (KBW), where he held the position of Investment Banking Vice President.

In the announcement, JBSL stated that Weitz’s experience and expertise “will be invaluable to our law firm clients, corporate clients and our coinvestors, in all aspects of balance sheet and legal asset maximization.” His role as head of the company’s advisory services will see Weitz lead JBSL’s support for their clients in “identification of dormant legal assets, capital structuring, strategic acquisition/sales of dockets and law firms, and succession planning.”

$50M Partnership Between Tribeca Capital and Nera Capital

By Harry Moran |

With the global litigation finance market largely dominated by those long-established funders who have already planted significant footholds in the major jurisdictions, upstart funders must look for creative ways to grow their businesses at home and abroad. This has once again been demonstrated by the announcement of a partnership between two litigation finance companies, one based in California and the other in Dublin. 

An article in Alternative Credit Investor covers the news that Tribeca Capital is establishing a new division focused on antitrust claims, following the agreement of a new funding facility with Nera Capital. The $50 million in capital represents a significant partnership between the two litigation finance companies, with Tribeca looking to fund claims which target anti-competitive and monopolistic activities by corporations.

Aisling Byrne, director at Nera Capital, said that partnering with Tribeca “underscores the dedication of our exceptional team and reaffirms our commitment to making a positive impact globally, through the responsible use of litigation finance.” Byrne explained that this partnership supports the company’s growth plan in the United States, and said that allying with Tribeca “not only strengthens our market position but also aligns perfectly with our core values of innovation and integrity.”

Rory Donadio, founder and chief executive of Tribeca Capital, highlighted that “Commercial litigation funding plays a crucial role in ensuring the smooth progression of legal proceedings by covering essential expenses.” He went on to add that the provision of third-party funding to claimants “serves as a valuable financial tool in facilitating smoother case management and access to justice.”

Alexi Secures $11 Million USD Series A Funding to Accelerate AI-Powered Legal Technology Innovations

By Harry Moran |

Alexi (www.alexi.com), a Canadian legaltech company and leader in generative AI for legal research and litigation tasks, today announced an $11 million USD ($15 million CAD) Series A fundraise. The round is led by Drive Capital, with participation from existing investors including Draper Associates, and brings Alexi's total funding to over $20 million. In addition to the raise, Chris Olsen, Partner at Drive Capital, will join the company's Board of Directors.

This fresh instalment of capital comes less than a year after Alexi's release of their Instant Memos, Arguments and Chat capabilities. The funding will immediately support hiring across engineering, product development, brand and design, legal, and business development teams to help Alexi continue to innovate and scale its technology. It will also enable Alexi to meet increasing demand from law firms to incorporate an array of AI-powered litigation tools into their businesses and accelerate upcoming releases across North America and other jurisdictions.

"We evaluate over 6,000 companies a year, most of which position themselves as an 'AI company.' Alexi is one of the very few examples, however, of using AI to solve a business problem," said Chris Olsen, Co-Founder and Partner at Drive Capital. "Lawyers who use Alexi run more successful law practices. It is only a matter of time until attorneys all over the world are using Alexi to be better lawyers."

Alexi is a pioneer in generative AI for litigation teams. Their platform enables legal professionals to generate high-quality legal memos, identify pertinent legal issues or arguments to achieve desired outcomes and perform AI-powered routine litigation tasks-all within a single platform. The company's ultimate mission is to empower legal teams with artificial intelligence, breaking down barriers to knowledge and enabling justice for all.

"The rate of innovation happening at Alexi is truly astounding. Instead of trying to predict the future, we're building it," said Mark Doble, CEO of Alexi. "This capital further enables us to build incredible value into our products and empower our customers to better serve their clients."

Alexi is experiencing impressive growth, with recent user activity increasing by 15-20% each month. Currently, thousands of litigators across the U.S. and Canada rely on Alexi.

About Alexi

Founded by Mark Doble and Sam Bhasin, Alexi's proprietary AI-powered platform equips litigators with core legal skills. Designed to streamline the legal research process and assist with routine litigation tasks, Alexi saves time and enhances productivity for law firms. Committed to innovation and excellence, Alexi continues to lead the way in transforming access to legal knowledge. For more information, visit https://www.alexi.com or follow Alexi on LinkedIn.

About Drive Capital

Drive Capital is the most established venture capital firm at the intersection of industry and modern technology. Drive unlocks returns for limited partners by investing in market-defining companies anywhere in North America. Over the last decade, Drive grew to manage more than $2B in total assets. From insurance and manufacturing to energy, healthcare, finance and more, Drive's portfolio is full of real businesses, including DuoLingo, UDACITY and KOHO, creating real value in the real world. The result is world-class returns from the greatest emerging market in the world - America. Drive is proudly headquartered in Columbus, Ohio - the geographic center of mass of Western GDP, but Drive also has boots on the ground in a dozen North American cities, with more to come.

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Professor Andreas Stephan to File Third-Party Seller Damages Action Against Amazon In Excess of £2.5 Billion

By Harry Moran |

Professor Andreas Stephan and Geradin Partners have today announced that they have secured funding from litigation funder Innsworth for a UK opt-out competition damages claim on behalf of UK-domiciled third-party sellers against Amazon. The claim, estimated to be worth over £2.5 billion, will focus on multiple anti-competitive practices by Amazon that have harmed UK sellers and will be filed shortly in the Competition Appeal Tribunal, the UK’s specialist competition court. 

Andreas Stephan, a leading competition law scholar and the Head of the University of East Anglia Law School, will bring the damages action on behalf of UK third-party sellers who have used Amazon’s platform. He has retained a team composed of Geradin Partners, Kieron Beal KC (Blackstone Chambers), Daniel Carall-Green and Hannah Bernstein (Fountain Court), and Frontier Economics. 

Amazon’s treatment of third-party sellers has come under significant scrutiny from regulators in the United Kingdom, Italy, the European Union and the United States. These regulators have identified competition concerns in relation to Amazon’s position of dominance, and conduct in the market for the supply of e-commerce marketplace services. In some cases, those regulators have imposed sanctions or required commitments from Amazon to address these concerns. Professor Stephan’s claim would be based on showing loss arising from multiple abuses of a dominant position and therefore will provide a comprehensive opportunity for sellers to obtain full compensation for harm caused by Amazon. Estimated damages are over £2.5 billion. 

Professor Stephan said: “Amazon has engaged in a variety of strategies to grow its e-commerce platform, lock sellers into it, prevent the expansion of rivals, and use that privileged position to exploit sellers that use its platform. I am bringing this litigation to give sellers in the UK the opportunity that they might not otherwise have to be compensated for all those unfair practices.” 

Founding Partner of Geradin Partners, Damien Geradin, said: “Amazon is one of the world’s largest companies. As regulators around the world are increasingly finding, Amazon has abused that position in multiple ways to prevent third-party sellers of all sizes from enjoying the benefits that flow from free and fair online commerce. This claim intends to give sellers the opportunity to seek redress for these anti-competitive practices.”

Second Edition of The Law and Business of Litigation Finance Published

By Harry Moran |

In a post on LinkedIn, Steven Friel, CEO at Woodsford, announced that the second edition of The Law and Business of Litigation Finance has been published by Bloomsbury Professional. The book is a holistic overview of the litigation finance industry and provides a guide to everything from how funders raise capital, to the key legal issues that are faced by those involved in third-party legal funding.

According to Bloomsbury’s listing, the new edition includes additional content on:

  • The commercial and finance aspects of litigation funding, including insight into the different stakeholders involved
  • Litigation finance in specific jurisdictions including Australia, continental Europe, Singapore, and Hong Kong
  • Updates on case law based on new high profile cases in the UK, USA and Australia, and developments in legislation and regulatory measures in those jurisdictions.

As the editor of the book, Friel also thanked all the contributors to the second edition which include: Abdur-Razzaq A., David Capper, Tony Sebok, Helena Clarke, Emily Duffy, Evan Fried, Josh Goodman, Samantha Hewitt, Alex Hickson, Ari Jaffess, Gina Kim, Riley King, Zachary Krug, Michael Lange, Richard Leedham, Alex Lempiner, David G. Liston, Walter Mansfield, John Middlemass, Charlie Morris, Ravi Nayer, Alex Patchen, Lucy Pert, Eric Schuller, Neill Shrimpton, David Siffert, Mark Spiteri, Ben Summerfield, Christian Toms, David T.Joe Tyler, Simon Walsh, Chloe Hanson.

The book is available to pre-order through Bloomsbury’s website, and is scheduled to be released later this week on 13 June.

ClaimShare Joins The European Litigation Funders Association (ELFA)

By Harry Moran |

The European Litigation Funders Association (ELFA) is pleased to announce that Dutch collective claim manager and aggregator ClaimShare, has joined ELFA as an associate member. 

ClaimShare's mission is to support people and SMEs that have suffered harm and seek redress from corporate wrongdoers. ClaimShare does this by bundling their claims and providing professional services to organizations that represent the claimants’ interests. Seeking the appropriate litigation funder is a crucial part of that service and for access to justice in general. For years, ClaimShare has advocated the necessity and added value of a dedicated litigation funding association in the EU. The establishment of ELFA is crucial to better inform clients, the legal industry and policy makers in the EU of the essential role litigation funding plays and its mechanics, as well as develop and foster best practices”, said Dirk Jan van den Broek, Managing Director of ClaimShare

Omni Bridgeway's Managing Director and ELFA Chairman, Wieger Wielinga, expressed his enthusiasm about ClaimShare joining as an associate member. He stated, "ELFA is delighted to have ClaimShare on board. With Dirk Jan and the broader ClaimShare team, we gain a wealth of experience accumulated through years of assisting claimants and interest organizations, specifically in the European Union in obtaining the redress they might not have otherwise achieved. Their perspective as a claims manager and aggregator will significantly contribute to our organization's mission and benefit the entire industry.” 

About The European Litigation Funders Association: 

ELFA was founded by three leading litigation funders with a European footprint, and today includes almost all European litigation funders. ELFA, was established to serve as the European voice of the commercial litigation funding industry. With the objective of representing the industry’s interests before governmental bodies, international organizations and professional associations, ELFA also aims to act as a clearinghouse and reference for relevant information, research and data regarding the uses and applications of commercial legal finance within the European continent. ELFA aims to be inclusive for all professional litigation funders of larger or smaller size and to allow specific contributing market participants and academics as associate members. 

About ClaimShare: 

ClaimShare exists to support individuals and interest groups to set up and manage class actions and group actions advancing equitable access to justice. ClaimShare has successfully initiated several well-known impactful claims, helping its clients obtain legal redress regarding leaking silicone breast implants, wrongful electricity pricing and metals fraud.

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