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Nakiki SE: New litigation financing agreements: EUR 3 million, option volume EUR 1.5 million

By Harry Moran |

Nakiki SE, in future Legal Finance Holding SE, announces 3 new litigation financing agreements:

Real estate purchase agreement:

The seller of non-EU real estate with a value of EUR 10 million suffered damages of approximately EUR 2.3 million as a result of a cancelled property purchase agreement. Legal Finance entered into a litigation funding agreement with the seller to pursue the claim.

Sports car accident:

A policyholder suffered damage in a serious car accident and the insurance company refused to pay the claim for approximately EUR 700,000. Legal Finance entered into a litigation funding agreement with the policyholder to pursue the claim.

Loan agreements:

A borrower refused to repay business loans totalling approximately EUR 550,000. Legal Finance entered into a litigation funding agreement with the lender to enforce the outstanding payments.

The total amount in dispute of the new litigation financing agreements is approximately EUR 3.5 million (excluding costs and interest). The option volume is approximately EUR 1.5 million.

Additional cases are under review.

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Bank Lending Vs. Alternative Litigation Finance: A Mass Tort Attorney’s Strategic Opportunity

By Jeff Manley |

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

Mass tort litigation is a high-stakes world, one where the pursuit of justice is inextricably linked with financial resources and risk management. In this complex ecosystem, two financial pillars stand out: bank lending and alternative litigation finance. For attorneys and their financial partners in mass torts, choosing the right financial strategy can mean the difference between success and stagnation.

The Evolving Financial Landscape for Mass Tort Attorneys

Gone are the days when a powerful legal argument alone could secure the means to wage a war against industrial giants. Today, financial acumen is as critical to a law firm’s success as legal prowess. For mass tort attorneys, funding large-scale litigations is akin to orchestrating a multifaceted campaign with the potential for astronomical payouts, but also the very real costs that come with such undertakings.

Under the lens of the courtroom, the financing of mass tort cases presents a unique set of challenges. These cases often require substantial upfront capital and can extend over years, if not decades. In such an environment, agility, sustainability, and risk management emerge as strategic imperatives.

Navigating these waters demands a deep understanding of two pivotal financing models: traditional bank lending and the more contemporary paradigm of third-party litigation finance.

The Need for Specialized Financial Solutions in Mass Tort Litigation

The financial demands of mass tort litigation are unique. They necessitate solutions that are as flexible as they are formidable, capable of weathering the uncertainty of litigation outcomes. Portfolio risk management, a concept well-established in the investment world, has found its parallel in the legal arena, where it plays a pivotal role in driving growth and longevity for law firms.

The overarching goal for mass tort practices is to structure their financial arrangements in such a way that enables not just the funding of current cases but the foresight to invest in future opportunities. In this context, the question of bank lending versus alternative asset class litigation finance is more than transactional—it’s transformational.

Understanding Bank Lending

Banks have long been the bedrock of corporate financing, offering stability and a familiar process. While bank lending presents several advantages, such as the potential for lower interest rates in favorable economic environments, it also comes with significant caveats. The traditional model often involves stringent loan structures, personal guarantees, and an inflexibility that can constrain the scalability of funding when litigation timelines shift or case resolutions become protracted.

For attorneys seeking immediate capital, interest-only lines of credit can be appealing, providing a temporary reprieve on principal payments. However, the long-term financial impact and personal liability underpinning these loans cannot be overlooked.

Exploring Third-Party Litigation Finance

On the flip side, third-party litigation finance has emerged as a beacon of adaptability within the legal financing landscape. By eschewing traditional collateral requirements and personal guarantees, this model reduces the personal financial risk for attorneys. More significantly, it does so while tailoring financing terms to individual cases and firm needs, thus improving the alignment between funding structures and litigation timelines.

Litigation financiers also bring a wealth of experience and industry-specific knowledge to the table. They are partners in the truest sense, offering strategic foresight, risk management tools, and a shared goal in the litigation’s success.

Interest Rates and Financial Terms

The choice between bank lending and third-party litigation finance often hinges on the amount of attainable capital, interest rates, and the terms, conditions, and covenants of the loans. These differences can significantly influence the overall cost of financing and the strategic financial planning for mass tort litigation.

Bank Lending: Traditional bank loans typically offer lower initial interest rates, which can be attractive for short-term financing needs. However, these rates are almost always variable and linked to broader economic indicators, such as the prime rate. Banks are very conservative in every aspect of underwriting and the commitments they offer.

Third-Party Litigation Finance: In contrast, third-party litigation lenders often require a multiple payback, such as 2x or 3x the original amount borrowed. Some third-party lenders also offer floating rate loans tied to SOFR, but the interest costs are meaningfully higher than those of banks. The trade-off is greater access to capital. Third-party lenders, deeply entrenched in industry nuances, are generally willing to lend substantially larger amounts of capital. For attorneys managing long-duration cases, this variability introduces a layer of financial uncertainty. If a loan has a floating rate and the duration of the underlying torts is materially extended, the actual borrowing cost can skyrocket, negatively impacting the overall returns of a final settlement. This is an incredibly important factor to understand both at the outset of a transaction and during the initial stages of capital deployment.

Similarly, the maturity, terms, and conditions can differ drastically between bank-sourced loans and those from third-party lenders, with no standard list of boilerplate terms for comparison—making a knowledgeable financial partner key to facilitating the best fit for the law firm. Two standard features of a bank credit facility are that the entire portfolio of all law firm assets is usually required to secure the loan, regardless of size, and an unbreakable personal guarantee further secures the entire credit facility. Both of these points are potentially negotiable with a third-party lender. Bank loans are almost always one-year facilities with the bank having an explicit right to reassess their interest in maintaining a credit facility with the law firm every 12 months. In contrast, third-party lenders typically enter into a credit facility with a commitment for 4-5 years, with terms becoming bespoke beyond these basics.

Loan Structures Under Scrutiny

The rigidity of bank loan structures, particularly notice provisions and speed of access, contrasts with the fluidity of third-party financiers’ offerings. The ability to negotiate terms based on case outcomes, as afforded by the alternative financing model, represents a paradigm shift in financial planning that has redefined the playbook for mass tort investors.

Risk at Its Core

The linchpin of this comparison is risk management. Banks often require a traditional, property-based collateral, which serves as a blunt instrument for risk reduction in the context of litigation. Third-party financiers, conversely, indulge in sophisticated evaluations and often adopt models of shared risk, where their fortunes are inversely tied to those of the litigants.

Support Beyond Capital

A crucial divergence between bank loans and alternative finance is the depth of support provided. The former confines its assistance to financial matters, while the latter, through its specialized knowledge, contributes significantly to strategic case management, risk assessment, and valuation, essentially elevating itself to the level of a silent partner in the legal endeavor. Furthermore, litigation funders (unlike banks), are often prepared to extend multiple installments of capital, reflecting a level of risk tolerance and industry insight that banks typically do not offer.

Case Studies and Success Stories

The case for alternative litigation finance is perhaps best illustrated through the experiences of attorneys who have successfully navigated the inextricable link between finance and litigation. The Litigation Finance Survey Report highlights the resounding recommendation from attorneys who have used third-party financing, with nearly all expressing a willingness to repeat the process and recommend it to peers.

This empirical evidence underscores the viability and efficacy of alternative financing models, showcasing how they can bolster the financial position of a firm and, consequently, its ability to take on new cases and grow its portfolio.

The Role of Litigation Finance Partners

When considering third-party litigation finance, the choice of partner is just as important as the decision to explore this path. Seasoned financiers offer more than just capital; they become an extension of the firm’s strategic muscle, sharing in risks and rewards to galvanize a litigation (and practice) forward.

Cultivating these partnerships is an investment in expertise and a recognition of the unique challenges presented by mass tort litigation. It is an integral part of modernizing the approach to case management, one that ultimately leads to a sustainable and robust financial framework.

For mass tort attorneys, the strategic use of finance can unlock the latent potential in their caseloads, transforming high-risk ventures into opportunities for growth and success. By carefully weighing the merits of traditional bank lending against the agility of third-party litigation financing, attorneys can carve out a strategic path that not only secures the necessary capital but also empowers them to manage risks and drive profitability.

One truth remains immutable: those who recognize the need for financial innovation and risk management will be the torchbearers for the future of mass tort litigators, where the scales of justice are balanced by a firm and strategic hand anchored in the principles of modern finance.

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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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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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LegalPay aims to double litigation funding AUM to $1B by end of 2024

By John Freund |

LegalPay, India’s leading litigation funding company, today announced it has successfully managed claims worth USD 400 million since 2020 empowering over 1,000 businesses to recover their pending dues and navigate legal complexities. Building on this momentum, LegalPay aims to more than double the claims under management at USD 1 billion and add 4000 new cases every month by the end of calendar year 2024.

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New Research Shows Businesses Increasingly Open to Reframing Legal Department from Overhead to Capital Source

By John Freund |

Burford Capital, the leading global finance and asset management firm focused on law, today releases new independent research demonstrating that an increasing number of businesses are recognizing litigation portfolios as value sources and are becoming more open to tools that help them reframe the legal department from overhead to capital source.

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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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LitFin Capital, in cooperation with WOOD & Company, launched a unique fund of qualified investors

By John Freund |

LitFin Capital, a Prague-based litigation finance provider and one of the largest players in Europe, has enriched the investment landscape by launching one of the first qualified investor funds for litigation finance in continental Europe. Developed in partnership with WOOD & Company, a major Czech investment firm, this innovative fund presents a unique opportunity for investors seeking uncorrelated market returns.

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Montauk Metals Obtains Litigation Funding Against the Republic of Colombia

By John Freund |

Montauk Metals Inc. (TSX-V: MTK) (the “Company” or “Montauk”) is pleased to announce that it is been advanced US$200,000 (the “Loan Amount”) pursuant to the loan and option agreement (the “Loan Agreement”) with Omni Bridgeway (Fund 5) Canada Investments Ltd. (“Omni”), as previously announced in its news release on November 9, 2023. The Loan Amount was advanced to the Company in connection with the execution of promissory note by Montauk in favour of Omni (the “Note”).

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Omni Bridgeway Announces: Secondary market transaction completed in relation to Fund 4’s IP portfolio

By John Freund |

Omni Bridgeway Limited (Omni Bridgeway, OBL, Group) (ASX: OBL) announces that it has completed the sale of a 25% interest in a portfolio of 15 intellectual property (IP) investments (Investments) in Fund 4 (Fund) to an affiliate of GLS Capital Partners Fund II, LP (GLS) for an initial amount of US$21.5 million, representing a multiple on invested capital (MOIC) of 2.0x of the apportioned aggregated deployments to date. 

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