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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: www.adr.org

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.

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Spear’s Releases Best Litigation Funders Ranking for HNW Individuals

By Harry Moran |

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

By Harry Moran |

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

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

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

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

By Harry Moran |

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

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

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

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

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

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