Gabriel Olearnik joins LitFin as a Partner, Head of Special Situations

Gabriel Olearnik has joined Prague-based litigation funder LitFin as a Partner and Head of Special Situations in London.

Gabriel held positions at Clifford Chance, Mayer Brown and Dentons before taking the plunge into litigation finance. Since then, he has built an impressive track record as the managing director for Europe of Delta Capital Partners Management, and the investment director of Asertis. Gabriel has worked on 430 disputes in recent years and originated investments with an aggregate value of USD 1.4 billion.

We had the opportunity to speak to Gabriel about the move, his priorities in the role and the exciting matters they are currently working on. We also got his thoughts on where the European litigation finance industry may be heading in light of all the recent developments.

  1. What drove your move to LitFin? Is there something specific about LitFin’s culture that drew you in?

LitFin is one of the market leaders in Europe and is actively expanding to jurisdictions such as France, Belgium and the Netherlands. London is an important part of the global disputes landscape so it’s a natural fit for us. LitFin also counts 90 employees, with varied language capabilities - including Swedish, Chinese, Italian and Spanish so there is a lot of firepower to make things happen quickly.

Also, we have a beautiful office in Prague which is in a Renaissance palace. That’s absolutely a bonus!

  1. What are some of your short and long-term goals for the role? Does LitFin have further plans for expansion?

Short-term is to close deals. We have already completed one investment with a global law firm and successfully seized assets in a range of countries. We expect major press attention when that matter clears the press embargo in April.

Long-term is really international expansion. London is a significant prize but Paris and Belgium are close behind, and there will be high-level hires that will be announced shortly.

  1. The litigation funding landscape is evolving at a fast pace in Europe, particularly in the UK where the government recently introduced the Litigation Funding Agreements (Enforceability) Bill into the House of Lords. What are your views on where the industry may be heading in the next 5-10 years? Do you believe regulation will be a net benefit for the industry?

The industry will mature. It will be the first career for many, and there will be an increasing emphasis on training the new generation of litigation funders in the core competencies of law, investment management and investigations.

My own predictions are that we will have a growing harmonization of LFAs and standard way of measuring legal risk (I have proposed the Uniform Litigation Unit in a previous blog post on LinkedIn).

As the assets managed by litigation funders grow I predict regulation at the C-level for funders as well as  capital adequacy requirements. This will serve to give claimants comfort in the integrity of the profession and the ability for us to perform under the LFAs.

  1. Can you share any of the exciting matters you are currently working on or anything interesting coming down the pipeline?

The European asset recovery case we just closed will be of general interest and has a touch of James Bond to it, involving international travel, investigators and high stakes decisions.

I’m also looking forward to the Bearstone Asset Recovery Conference in Warsaw, where I will be speaking in a panel about the recovery of artwork and luxury assets. Warsaw is an increasingly important and energetic part of the world and I’m excited to see the market develop.