Burford Capital expands legal finance team

Burford Capital has announced a number of new hires across its global business that bring its headcount to over 140 employees, 66 of whom are lawyers.

On the investment side:

  • Apoorva Patel joins Burford in Washington, DC, as a Vice President with a focus on assessing legal risk in international arbitration, a topic about which he writes and speaks regularly as a leader in several global and national lawyers’ organizations focused on international dispute resolution. Prior to joining Burford, he was most recently Counsel in WilmerHale’s international arbitration and international litigation practices. Mr. Patel graduated from Harvard Law School, where he served as editor-in-chief of the Harvard Negotiation Law Review. He earned his bachelor’s degree in public policy from Duke University, where he graduated magna cum laude.

  • GabrielaBersuder joins Burford in New York as a Vice President. She previously practiced as a litigator at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, where she represented Fortune 500 companies, food and beverage manufacturers and large corporations in complex commercial litigations, arbitrations and mediations. She clerked for the Honorable John G. Koeltl (Southern District of New York) and Honorable Christopher F. Droney (Second Circuit). Ms. Bersuder earned her law degree from Duke University School of Law and her bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University.

  • PeterMcLaughlin joins Burford in Chicago as a Vice President. Prior to Burford, he was a litigator at Sidley Austin, where he specialized in conducting investigations related to securities and healthcare regulation and served as counsel for jury trials, bankruptcy proceedings and arbitration hearings. He clerked for the Honorable James B. Zagel of the US District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Prior to earning a law degree from Northwestern University School of Law, he was a trading analyst at Credit Suisse. Mr. McLaughlin is a graduate of Georgetown University.

  • Dr. Jörn Eschment, Senior Vice President, has relocated to Zug, Switzerland, to oversee the growth of Burford’s substantial business in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Prior to joining Burford’s investment team in London in 2018, he practiced international commercial arbitration and litigation at Herbert Smith Freehills in Hong Kong and at Schellenberg Wittmer in Zurich. Dr. Eschment read law at the universities of Freiburg, Liverpool, Marburg and Passau, graduating with the German Staatsexamen, an LLM in European law and a doctorate in public international law, all with distinction. He also holds a master’s from the War Studies Department at King’s College London.

On the business origination side:

  • Bill Walker joins Burford in Washington, DC, as a Director, building on a career spanning consulting, in-house and law firm roles. Most recently he expanded Deloitte’s law-focused business development efforts with key clients at Fortune 500 companies, publicly traded middle-market companies and law firms. Previously he founded Ansun Management Partners, a boutique professional services firm, was a corporate attorney specializing in complex corporate transactions at several large multi-national law firms and was an in-house lawyer at the American Red Cross. Mr. Walker earned his JD from the University of Connecticut School of Law, where he served as articles editor of the Connecticut Journal of International Law, and his bachelor’s in economics from College of the Holy Cross.

Across other business functions:

  • Chermia S. Hoeffner joins Burford as Vice President, Human Resources. Prior to joining Burford, she was Head of Human Resources at the National Audubon Society, where she led the human resources team, implemented organization-level job architecture and developed policies, procedures and initiatives crucial to the overall strategy at Audubon. Ms. Hoeffner has also worked in human resources roles at TIAA-CREF, Mercer and Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt LLP. She has over two decades of experience managing a broad range of HR functions at global organizations. Ms. Hoeffner graduated with an MBA in management from Pace University and a bachelor’s in English from SUNY-Albany.

  • David Helfenbein joins Burford as Vice President, Public Relations. He has over a decade of experience in litigation and legal communication, crisis management, public affairs, government relations and public policy. Prior to joining Burford, he worked as an Associate Director at Finsbury Glover Hering and held senior roles at several public relations firms and branding agencies. He began his career working in the US Senate, followed by the US Department of State. Mr. Helfenbein earned his law degree from the School of Law at Washington University in St. Louis and his bachelor’s degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Pennsylvania.

  • Ilya Podolskiy, CPA, CGMA, CRMA, Cr. FAC, joins Burford as Vice President, Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) Compliance. Mr. Podolskiy has over a decade of experience implementing audit and SOX strategies. He was previously a SOX Manager for Sirius Group and for Assured Guaranty. Prior to that, Mr. Podolskiy held roles with internal audit functions including Senior Internal Auditor for American International Group (AIG) and Tokyo Marine North American Services (TMNAS). Mr. Podolskiy earned his bachelor’s in accounting from CUNY Hunter College and his master’s in taxation from Villanova School of Law.

  • Phillip Lu joins as Head of Burford’s Project Management Office, with responsibility for Burford’s program/project management, business analysis and strategic planning capabilities. He was previously a Director at KPMG, where he evaluated and developed new digital and data strategies, technologies and business models; he also served as a Senior Manager at EY. Mr. Lu began his career as a management consultant and held technology strategy and project management roles at Morgan Stanley and Merrill Lynch. He earned his bachelor’s in economics from New York University.

Commenting on the additions, Christopher Bogart, CEO of Burford Capital, said: “As the industry leader with a $4.8 billion portfolio, we continue to build Burford’s team to meet the needs of our clients and the continuing growth of our business. At Burford, we place significant emphasis on a collaborative culture, with strong intellectual and interpersonal dynamics at the heart of our organization. As we add experts to our team, we look for intelligent, thoughtful and creative individuals who always try to expand upon what is possible—which we believe we have found with each of these new additions.”