Big Law Warms Up to Litigation Finance as Deals Pot Hits $2.8B

Litigation funding companies in the U.S. committed $2.8 billion toward new deals in 2021, according to an annual survey by Westfleet Advisors. This represents an 11% increase from the prior year and can be attributed in part to rising interest from the world’s biggest law firms. While more money was spent overall, the average size of deals has declined by around 20% since 2020 to $6.5 million. The survey showed that new funds have popped up specialising in smaller deal sizes. More from Bloomberg Law.

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Future of Patent Licensing Deals on the Line at Federal Circuit

The US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC is set to rule on whether a patent owner who gives the ability to sublicense a patent can still sue another for infringement in a case that could have implications for other litigation funding transactions, after judges in Delaware and the Northern District of California ruled that Uniloc – which defaulted on a Fortress loan it used to pay for lawsuits against Motorola, Apple and Google, triggering a provision in the deal that ceded its patent sublicensing rights to Fortress – no longer had exclusionary rights to the patents and thus didn’t have legal standing to sue.

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Litigation Fund Fight Shows Trap Lurking in Win-Win Deals

Woodsford Group is trying to collect a $1.8 million arbitration award against Hosie Rice, a San Francisco law firm, which claims that Woodsford is going after fees that were never part of the deal, even though a panel of three arbitrators found the contract gave Woodsford the right to collect from the case.

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ABA Sides Against Opening Law Firms Up to New Competition

The American Bar Association is pouring cold water on efforts to loosen restrictions on who can own law firms. Last week, the group’s House of Delegates passed a non-binding resolution discouraging changes to state rules barring the sharing of legal fees with non-lawyers. But it also encouraged state bar groups to explore innovations designed to increase access to justice by making legal services more affordable.

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