NYU’s free litigation finance library

Approximately seven years ago, the New York University School of Law created its Center on Civil Justice. The Center’s goal is to look realistically at the problems stressing the United States’ civil justice system and provide a forum for research, discussion, and writing about how the participants in the system can be more satisfactorily served, while preserving the values that have made it a pillar of the country’s democracy. 

One of the Center’s key projects has been the creation of a Dispute Financing Library, which was officially launched in 2019. The Library is now teeming with documents. For those in the industry, it is well worth checking out.

We recently caught up with David Siffert, the Center’s Director of Research and Projects, to tell us a little bit more about this project.

What is the Dispute Financing Library?

The Dispute Financing Library is a free, searchable document database of information related to third-party litigation funding and other dispute funding, primarily focused on the US industry. It contains statutes, case law, journal articles, bar reports, and even funding agreements that have been publicly produced. It also contains videos, including legislative hearings and conferences. Each document has been manually tagged and is full-text searchable, to make it easy to find what you need.

Why did you feel the need to create this library?

It’s actually quite challenging to get good information on the dispute financing industry. The contracts are all kept completely secret, but even with respect to statutes, case law, bar reports, and more, there is no central repository for the information. If you have access to WestLaw and LEXIS, you can find a lot of it if you are willing to slog through unrelated material, but that takes time and probably money. Both for people trying to learn about the industry from the outside and for people professionally involved with the industry who need to learn about a specific aspect of the law, the Library will hopefully create easier access to information on this relatively new industry.

The Library recently underwent an upgrade — can you tell me about it?

We’ve done a few things. The big changes include adding email notifications for saved searches, for when new cases or other documents that match your selected criteria get added to the Library. We’ve also just added a forum, if users want to discuss issues or ask questions of the funding community. We’ve also done a bit of housekeeping with the documents, making sure things are tagged properly and that we don’t have unnecessary duplication.

Where do you get the documents?

We owe the bulk of our documents to our Advisory Board, which consists of:

  • Bernardo M. Cremades Sanz-Pastor, Founding Partner of Cremades Y Asociados;

  • Julia Gewolb, Director of Underwriting at Validity Finance;

  • Mark Jacobs, Principal at Arrowhead Capital;

  • Victoria Sahani, Professor at Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law;

  • Charles Schmerler, Senior Managing Director and Head of Litigation Finance at Pretium;

  • Eric Schuller, President of Alliance for Responsible Consumer Legal Funding; and

  • Anthony Sebok, Professor at Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law

We particularly should thank Eric Schuller and the late Selvyn Seidel for getting the Library seeded. But the Library also has an upload feature, and we have received numerous documents from the general public, and we hope to get more that way. If any of your readers notice something missing, do not hesitate to upload it, or to send it over to us to get uploaded.