Burford Capital has announced that it is committing an additional $100 million to The Equity Project, its groundbreaking initiative designed to increase diversity in the business of law.
Burford first launched The Equity Project in October 2018 with $50 million in legal finance capital earmarked for matters led by women. Having committed well in excess of that amount to Equity Project matters as of December 31, 2020, Burford has now broadened the initiative to include racial diversity and thus address a deficit in representation that is even more acute than the gender gap. Burford has already made a multi-million commitment under the newly expanded Equity Project to a matter led by a female in-house lawyer and a racially diverse outside litigation team for a Fortune 100 company.
The Equity Project is a global initiative led by Burford’s Aviva Will, co-COO and formerly a senior litigation manager and Assistant General Counsel at Time Warner Inc. and a senior litigator at Cravath, Swaine & Moore.
Ms. Will states: “We review thousands of commercial disputes annually and vanishingly few are led by female and racially diverse lawyers. We at Burford are providing tangible means to change this so that these groups can have easier pathways to generate additional business.
There is no question that diversity is good for business. The question is, how can we promote and incentivize faster change in commercial litigation and arbitration, both of which have been particularly resistant to it? Our goal is not just to work to bridge these gaps but to do so quickly. To achieve this, we must change the economics.”
In addition to committing capital, The Equity Project will continue to organize events and generate thought leadership that draw attention to diversity in law.