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Fair Pre-Settlement Funding – An Oxymoron or a Viable Alternative?

By John Freund |

The following article was contributed by Julia DiCristofaro, program administrator at The Milestone Foundation.

“I have a good client who is in need of pre-settlement funding, which I almost always advise against. But she is desperate, and this case will settle soon. Do you think you can help?”

As program administrator of The Milestone Foundation, the only nonprofit providing pre-settlement funding to plaintiffs in need, I often hear this sentiment. Non-recourse, pre-settlement funding companies market themselves as quick cash options for plaintiffs who are awaiting their settlements.  It’s an easy lure for an individual who has undergone a catastrophic incident, one that has likely left them injured and unable to work, or facing mounting medical bills; someone who knows they will eventually receive a sum of money to live off of, but in the meantime, might not be able to afford groceries or rent.

Pre-settlement funding, also referred to as litigation finance, has grown exponentially in the past decade and is now estimated to be a nine-figure industry. For many plaintiffs, this funding is a necessary lifeline to financially stay afloat as their case resolves. Yet, there are few regulations for this type of funding, often referred to as the “Wild West” of the lending industry. Murky contracts comprised of complex language, confusing terms, hidden fees, and complicated interest calculations are common features of these advances.

When an individual is desperate to make ends meet, terms like “compounding interest,” “quarterly fees,” and “capped at three times the principal” fade into the background, as “cash in less than 24 hours,” “no credit checks,” and “if you don’t win your case, you don’t owe anything” catch their attention and provide a glimmer of hope.

As many attorneys can attest, once a case settles and the payment is due to the lender, this lack of transparency often renders plaintiffs shocked to see that they now owe as much as $30,000 on the $10,000 advance they received. Plaintiffs can feel duped or betrayed, and oftentimes look to their attorneys to solve the problem by negotiating “haircuts” with the funder, or even waiving their own fees.

An attorney practicing in New Mexico shared: “I had a client who recently received a $50,000 settlement. She owes $16,000 on a $5,000 advance she took out, and is panicking at how little money she’s actually going to receive. I think I am going to have to waive my fees on the case just to help her stay afloat.”

It’s no wonder so many attorneys discourage their clients from taking these advances, though for many individuals, these funds are more critical now than ever. Plaintiffs have long been at a disadvantage when pursuing justice against deep-pocketed corporations that can make lowball offers in mediation, or await the time it takes to go in front of a jury.

As with many facets of life, the Covid pandemic has played a role in shaping the civil justice landscape, as social distancing guidelines resulted in overloaded dockets and delayed court dates for civil cases. As a result, the advantage held by insurance companies and other defendants in personal injury cases has increased, as they continue to accept premiums and pay out less in settlements. Meanwhile, as government programs such as stimulus checks and eviction moratoriums expire, inflation continues to skyrocket, and savings dwindle, the majority of Americans are barely making ends meet; at the end of 2022, 64% of the U.S. population was living paycheck to paycheck, an increase from 61% in 2021 according to a recent LendingClub report. Much to the dismay of many experienced attorneys, these contrary factors – lengthened trial timelines and increased financial need – make non-recourse funding a necessary component of the civil litigation landscape.

Given the oftentimes exploitative nature of non-recourse advances, many states have introduced legislation or enacted regulations to rein in the industry. For instance, in Colorado, some courts have voided or re-written individual litigation financing agreements as traditional loans subject to low-interest rate ceilings. While this helps plaintiffs avoid unfair and predatory rates, it also discourages many funders from assuming the risk that is inherent in non-recourse funding, leaving few options for these injured parties, who will then pressure their attorneys to settle their lawsuits – often to the detriment of their awards.

Trade organizations such as The Alliance for Responsible Consumer Legal Funding (ARC) and

American Legal Finance Association (ALFA), often lobby state legislatures to prevent restrictions on the litigation finance industry. They argue that the non-recourse nature of the lending requires their members to assume a high level of risk that justifies their practices, as the plaintiffs are only required to repay these advances using the proceeds from their lawsuit; in the instance of an unfavorable result, the lender does not recoup their advance. ARC states that they support legislation that “enacts robust consumer legal protection for consumer legal funding and maintains consumer access, because good legislation does both.”

Both ARC and ALFA champion industry best practices and sponsor legislation to reflect these practices. ARC’s best practices range from recommending that contracts reflect all costs and fees – showing how much the consumer will owe every six months, and the maximum amount a provider may ever own of a recovery – to prohibiting attorneys from receiving referral fees or commissions from the companies their clients receive their funding from. To date, six states have enacted ARC-backed legislation, while other bills are being reviewed in states like Kansas and Rhode Island.

While the activities undertaken by ARC and ALFA are adding regulatory measures to the industry, some might argue that they are not going as far as necessary to truly benefit plaintiffs who are utilizing this funding. Maximum payments and fees are listed in contracts, but they are generally not easily found on websites, making it difficult for plaintiffs to compare shops, or truly understand what they will owe until they go through the strenuous application and underwriting process. Additionally, these trade organizations do not make recommendations on interest rates or maximum repayment amounts, which enables their members to continue to charge exorbitant rates and fees.

But that’s not to say there are no ethical lenders in the space. Some companies are instituting policies such as capping repayment amounts at two times the principal, offering advances with simple interest that is applied every six months, helping to identify government support, and introducing innovations like debit cards that enable borrowers to pay for basic necessities.

Another viable alternative to unethical lending is The Milestone Foundation, formerly known as the Bairs Foundation, which was created six years ago to provide a plaintiff-focused option in the pre-litigation space. The only nonprofit providing low, simple interest pre-settlement advances, the foundation has helped more than 600 plaintiffs by advancing more than $4.8 million and is looking to expand its reach to serve more clients across the country.

Steven Shapiro, partner at Ogborn Mihm LLP in Colorado, has seen firsthand the benefits, as well as the pitfalls, of pre-settlement funding. “My job as an attorney is to get my clients the award they deserve. If they don’t have the resources to pay their rent or buy their groceries, they are going to feel pressured to settle, and I won’t have the time I need to bring the case to a fair resolution.”

Shapiro has at times seen clients with no alternative other than to take out advances with 30 to 40 percent interest rates; while painful at the time, these clients were able to see their cases through to a reasonable conclusion.

He’s also seen The Milestone Foundation at work. He recounts his client Olga, a Russian-American woman disabled in a car accident, who was in need of funding. He referred her to The Milestone Foundation.

“The foundation was able to provide Olga a reasonable advance at a reasonable rate, that enabled her to afford her living expenses for the duration of the case, which took about two years to settle and resulted in a seven-figure award. The contract was transparent and really the most wonderful thing. I would always opt to refer my clients to The Milestone Foundation rather than other lenders whose practices tend to be much more opaque.”

While pre-settlement funding is often condemned by principled attorneys working to protect the best interests of their clients, ethical lenders like The Milestone Foundation are working to give the industry a new reputation. As the only nonprofit in the industry, The Milestone Foundation protects the interests of plaintiffs over profits, and hopes to inspire other entities to implement a similar approach toward pre-settlement funding.

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

By John Freund |

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Level Acquires Tower Street Finance to Target Probate Lending Sector

By John Freund |

An article in ETF Express covers the announcement from Level, a family law and private client lender, that it has acquired Tower Street Finance in order to expand its presence in the probate lending sector. Level’s acquisition strategy is reportedly being guided by the growth in activity around probate lending, which is being fuelled by processing delays and individuals’ demand for third-party capital amid a difficult economic climate.

Commenting on the acquisition, Level’s founder and CEO, George Williamson said: “Tower Street Finance have been the standout market leader since pioneering the probate market in 2020, while Level has done the same in the family law market.  By combining Tower Street Finance’s unparalleled expertise and network in the probate market with our platform and trusted reputation, we have a significant advantage over our competitors.”

Jim Sission, co-founder of Tower Street Finance, will be joining Level alongside two of his employees. Sission said that the acquisition by Level brings together the two company’s expertise across family law and probate lending, and will create “a best-in-class platform for legal funding.”

In addition to the acquisition, Level also announced that it had secured another £10 million in outside investment, comprised of a £5 million equity capital investment from Kendal Capital and £5 million debt investment from Correlation Risk Partners. Kendal Capital’s CEO and co-founder, Grant Kurland will be joining Level’s board of advisers, which already includes notable industry names such as Neil Purslow, CIO of Therium Capital. Kurland said that “the combination of Level & TSF is well placed to capitalise on their respective market leading positions in the family and probate sectors.”

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

By John Freund |

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

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

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

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

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

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

To apply right now for your Securities Fraud pre-settlement cash advance or FINRA arbitration settlement cash advance, please visit Legal-Bay's page dedicated solely to these types of cases, at: 

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

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

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