Trending Now
Special Features

Special Features

186 Articles

Member Spotlight: Jeff Zaino

By John Freund |

Jeffrey T. Zaino, Esq. is the Vice President of the Commercial Division of the American Arbitration Association in New York. He oversees administration of the large, complex commercial caseload, user outreach, and panel of commercial neutrals in New York. He joined the Association in 1990. Mr. Zaino is dedicated to promoting ADR methods and services.

His professional affiliations include the American Bar Association (Dispute Resolution, Litigation, and Business Law Sections), Connecticut Bar Association, District of Columbia Bar Association, New York State Bar Association (Dispute Resolution Section – Executive Committee Member and Chair of the Blog Committee; Commercial & Federal Litigation Section, Chair of the Arbitration and ADR Committee), New York City Bar Association (Member of the Arbitration Committee and Affiliate Member of the ADR Committee), Board of Advisors of the Scheinman Institute on Conflict Resolution, New York Law School ADR Advisory Committee, American Bankruptcy Institute, and Westchester County Bar Association.

He has also written and published extensively on the topics of election reform and ADR, including several podcasts with the ABA, TalksOnLaw, and Corporate Counsel Business, and has appeared on CNN, MSNBC, and Bloomberg to discuss national election reform efforts and the Help America Vote Act.  He was deemed a 2018 Alternative Dispute Resolution Champion by the National Law Journal and received awards for his ADR work from the National Academy of Arbitrators, Region 2 and Long Island Labor and Employment Relations Association, New York State Bar Association (Commercial and Federal Litigation and Dispute Resolution Sections).

Company Name and Description: The not-for-profit American Arbitration Association® (AAA®)-International Centre for Dispute Resolution® (ICDR®) is the largest private global provider of alternative dispute resolution (ADR) services in the world.

With that comes enormous responsibility, which the AAA-ICDR® embraces. Its work lessens the load of a tremendously overburdened court system. Its efforts ease the financial hardships of those shattered by natural disasters. The foundation it established supports access to justice for all. 

The AAA-ICDR has a core dedication to service and particularly to education. It would be gratifying to focus on teaching people to stay out of disputes; however, since that is not a realistic objective in today’s world, the AAA-ICDR provides fair, rational, faster, and less adversarial means to handle the disputes that inevitably arise. 

Contrary to a common misperception, arbitration is confidential—not secretive. Parties are free to talk about their cases; it is the AAA-ICDR and the arbitrators who are bound to keeping parties’ confidences, similar to a judge and jury. 

Company Website:

Year Founded:  1926

Headquarters:  NYC

Area of Focus:  Commercial, Construction, Consumer, Employment, Government, International, and Labor

Member Quote: I look forward to working with the members of the Legal Funding Journal to collaborate on various efforts, including the promotion of arbitration and mediation.

Read More

An LFJ Conversation with Genevievette Walker-Lightfoot

By John Freund |

Genevievette Walker-Lightfoot brings extensive expertise in compliance, risk management, and regulatory affairs. As the Managing Member of The Law Offices of Genevievette Walker-Lightfoot, P.C., she ensures SEC-regulated entities adhere to compliance standards. With ties to FINRA and previous positions at the Federal Reserve Board and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, she has been listed among The Hedge Fund Journal’s Top 50 Women in Hedge Funds.

Hedonova, established in 2020, specializes in alternative investments, encompassing a diverse range of assets such as startups, real estate, fine art, carbon credits, and more. Hedonova offers a single fund structure that allows shareholders to invest without the burden of managing the day-to-day distribution of their investments. Hedonova’s mission is to make alternative investments accessible to all.

Below is our LFJ Conversation with Genevievette Walker-Lightfoot:

1. Hedonova has a unique business model. Can you explain how the fund works?

Certainly, the Hedonova fund operates on a single fund structure, which means that instead of offering multiple funds with different risk profiles, we consolidate various alternative investments into one accessible option for investors. This simplifies decision-making for our clients, as they don’t have to navigate multiple investment choices. Within this single fund, we strategically diversify across different asset classes, such as startups, real estate, art, litigation finance, and more. By spreading investments across diverse assets, we aim to manage risk effectively and potentially enhance returns for our investors.

2. How do you make it possible for investors worldwide to access alternative investments?

We prioritize global access to alternative investments through several means. Firstly, we leverage user-friendly online platforms, making it easy for investors worldwide to explore and invest in our fund. Hedonova has established and operates four feeder funds within its international framework across various jurisdictions, each meticulously structured under the relevant local laws. Additionally, we establish strategic partnerships with financial institutions across different regions, enabling us to reach a wider audience. Through these partnerships, we ensure that investors from various parts of the world can seamlessly participate in our fund, tapping into the opportunities offered by alternative investments. 

3. How are you adapting your business to the new regulatory requirements of the SEC’s Private Adviser Rule?

Adapting to the new regulatory requirements of the SEC’s Private Adviser Rule is a key focus for us. We’re enhancing our compliance measures and transparency practices to align with the regulatory framework. This involves thorough reviews of our operations and investment processes to ensure compliance. Additionally, we’re strengthening our communication channels with investors, providing them with clear and transparent information about our fund and its compliance with regulatory requirements. We aim to maintain trust and confidence in our operations by prioritizing investor protection and regulatory compliance.

4. Are there unique challenges in the Litigation Funding space for Hedonova?

Yes, the Litigation Funding space presents its own set of unique challenges. One significant challenge is assessing the financial viability of litigation cases. We carefully evaluate factors such as potential costs associated with litigation, the likelihood of successful resolution, and the estimated timeline for outcomes. Maintaining transparent communication with all parties involved, including law firms and plaintiffs, is crucial. We navigate these challenges by implementing rigorous evaluation processes and fostering open dialogue with our partners, ensuring alignment of interests and effective management of risks.

5. What are the advantages for investors in litigation finance?

Investors stand to gain several advantages from investing in litigation finance. Firstly, it offers the potential for high returns, as successful litigation cases can result in significant settlements or awards. Additionally, litigation finance typically involves shorter investment horizons than traditional investments, allowing investors to realize returns within a shorter timeframe. Moreover, litigation finance often exhibits a low correlation with traditional markets, providing diversification benefits to investors. By incorporating litigation finance into their portfolios, investors can access alternative sources of income and enhance overall portfolio resilience.

6. What are the types of litigation finance cases that Hedonova has invested in?

Hedonova has invested in various types of litigation cases across different sectors. These include commercial lawsuits, intellectual property disputes, class action lawsuits, and more. Each case undergoes a thorough evaluation process, where we assess its financial viability, the strength of legal arguments, and the expertise of the legal team involved. By diversifying across different litigation cases, we aim to spread risk and maximize potential returns for our investors.

7. How can investors use litigation finance to diversify their portfolios?

Investors can utilize litigation finance to diversify their portfolios by capitalizing on its non-correlation with traditional assets, as returns from legal cases are often unaffected by economic fluctuations. Diversification within the litigation finance asset class itself spreads risk across various cases with different risk profiles, mitigating the impact of any single case’s outcome. With the potential for high returns and exposure to alternative assets beyond stocks and bonds, litigation finance offers a unique avenue for portfolio diversification. Additionally, investors gain access to specialized legal expertise and thorough due diligence processes conducted by litigation finance firms, enhancing their investment decisions. As the litigation finance industry matures, it presents opportunities for long-term growth, making it an attractive option for investors seeking to broaden their investment horizons.

Read More

Member Spotlight: Tamar Katamadze

By John Freund |

Tamar is an underwriter in the Political Risk division at Mosaic Insurance and, among other things, responsible for developing Mosaic’s Arbitration Award Default Insurance (AADI) worldwide after previously supporting transactional liability division. In prior positions, she worked as a senior lawyer at JSC Georgian State Electrosystem in Georgia, representing the company in the European Union, and later, as an associate at Fridman Law Firm PLLC in New York. She started her career at Georgia’s Ministry of Economy & Sustainable Development, where she represented the government in courts, with a particular focus on complex commercial litigation.

Mosaic Insurance is a global specialty insurer with exceptional expertise, a focus on complex products, and an award-winning, digitized operating model. Mosaic Insurance underwrites for trade clients alongside we own Lloyd’s Syndicate 1609—offering capacity and custom service across seven lines of business in seven countries.

Company Website:

Year Founded:  2021

Headquarters:  Bermuda

Area of Focus:  Arbitration Award Default Insurance Product

Member Quote: We believe that our new product revolutionizes the landscape for litigation funders investing in international arbitration, providing funds with certainty and effectively managing the value of their investments.

Read More

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.

Read More

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: 

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.” 

Read More

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:

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.”

Read More

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. 

Read More

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.


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.”

Read More

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.

Read More

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

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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
Read More