ILFA’s first annual conference was held on 24 October 2022 and was by all accounts a tremendous success. Panelists spoke about various topics, including panels on the State of the Legal Finance Industry, The Client View: The Economics of Litigation and What GCs Think About Legal Finance Now and Building High Value Law Firm Practices. A brief synopsis of the day is below.
State of the Industry, moderated by Gina Passarella, Editor in Chief, American Lawyer Media
Christopher Bogart – Chief Executive Officer, Burford Capital
David Gallagher – Senior Vice President, D. E. Shaw Group
Neil Purslow – Founder & Chief Investment Officer, Therium Capital Management Limited; Chairman, Co-Founder, and Chief Investment Officer, ILFA
Matthew Harrison – Managing Director & Co-Chief Investment Officer, U.S. Omni Bridgeway
Overview: To kick off the inaugural conference, the first panel, “State of the Industry,” featured a slate of world-class panelists who spoke to a variety of topics facing the legal finance industry today. These topics included client demands today, investor appetite in this economic climate, consolidation in the industry, regulatory trends and more. Notably, ILFA’s Chairman, Co-Founder, and Chief Investment Officer, Neil Purslow stressed the importance that regulation does not stymie the industry or limit the access to legal finance and be supportive of the administration of justice.
The Client View: The Economics of Litigation and What GCs Think About Legal Finance Now, moderated by Aviva Will, Co-COO, Burford Capital
Steven Greenspan – Corporate Vice President and Chief Litigation Counsel, Raytheon Technologies
Sandy Grimm – Chief Legal Officer and Secretary, Southeastern Grocers
Nicholas Trutanich – Executive Vice President of Litigation, Fox Corporation
Rishi Varma – General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Overview: Unlike other legal finance conferences, ILFA’s premier event provided attendees with the unique opportunity to hear directly from users and potential users of legal finance, including a number of in-house lawyers. Attendees heard their perspectives on the overall economics of litigation, how decisions are made around litigation within their organizations and on legal finance as a potential tool in their toolbox. During the panel, “The Client View: The Economics of Litigation and What GCs Think About Legal Finance Now,” senior lawyers and corporate attorneys discussed their organizations’ increasing appetite for legal finance as a business tool, citing its ability to reduce budget pressure and free up capital for companies around the world. In addition, panelists advised on how both law firms and legal finance companies can better serve corporate general counsel. Notably, Sandy Grimm, Chief Legal Officer and Secretary of Southeastern Grocers underscored his personal experience with legal finance in the grocery industry as well as how it has benefited his quarterly and annual budgets.
Building High Value Law Firm Practices, moderated by Charles Schmerler, Senior Managing Director & Head of Litigation Finance, Pretium
Natasha Harrison, Founding Partner, Pallas Partners LLP
Phil Iovieno, Partner, Co-Chair Antitrust Litigation Group, Cadwalader
Jennifer Selendy, Founding Partner, Selendy Gay Elsberg
Overview: This panel provided attendees with another opportunity to hear directly from users of legal finance, this time from those at law firms that utilize legal finance. The panelists were able to provide a diverse perspective, both speaking to the international legal market as well as to both large and small law firms. During the panel, “Building High Value Law Firm Practices,” senior partners, including two who were founding partners of their law firms, discussed how high-quality smaller firms are able to succeed and larger law firms can expand the scope of their practices due to the increasing availability of legal finance. Panelists stressed the benefits of legal finance, including how it enables meritorious cases to be brought that would otherwise not have the needed resources, lawyers to be creative about how they litigate, jurisprudence to be accelerated and the status quo challenged. Jennifer Selendy, Founding Partner of Selendy Gay Elsberg, noted that “it’s undeniable . . . that there are cases that get brought that wouldn’t see the light of day if it weren’t for litigation finance.”