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Wake Up Call: AI-Powered Litigation Fund Startup Raises $100 Million

Sept. 19, 2019, 11:41 AM
  • Legalist, a litigation finance start-up managed by a 23-year-old Harvard dropout and backed by a retired federal appeals judge, said it just raised $100 million in its second financing round. That’s about 10 times what it raised in its first round a couple of years ago. The San Francisco startup, which was initially backed by startup incubator Y Combinator and claims to be the world’s first artificial intelligence-powered litigation funder, said it has so far financed 38 cases. (TechCrunch.com)

  • Early on, Legalist got $100,000 from a foundation started by Peter Thiel, the venture capitalist who among other things co-founded PayPal and bankrolled the lawsuit that financially obliterated Gawker Media. One of Legalist’s recent projects is to provide funding for lawsuits filed by ex-New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies slugger Lenny Dykstra, who post-retirement was convicted of bankruptcy fraud. (BN via BLB)

  • Big Law firms by most recent accounts have been doing well in the revenue and profits department. But it turns out that the news about collections is not so rosy. (Big Law Business)

  • Chevron Corp.'s Gibson Dunn & Crutcher lawyers yesterday urged a federal court to keep Baltimore’s climate change suit in federal court. Chevron argues that the issues of transboundary air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions raise federal law questions. But cities in similar suits have argued that they are actually about oil companies’ liability for marketing harmful products. (BLAW)

  • A “hard-charging” lawyer helped trigger a civil war that is ripping apart the National Rifle Association, and in the process he billed the gun rights lobby about $24 million in fees in 13 month, the Post reports. (Washington Post)

  • Squire Patton Boggs hired a top lawyer from LexisNexis, Glenn A. Brown, as of counsel in Atlanta in the firm’s data privacy & cybersecurity practice. At LexisNexis Risk Solutions, where Brown was senior vice president, associate general counsel, and chief regulatory compliance officer, he created a group responsible for drafting and implementing policies on a wide range of compliance and privacy topics under U.S. and U.K. law. (SquirePattonBoggs.com)

  • Northwestern University’s Pritzker School of Law said it’s the only law school to date that has joined the $5 million Move the Needle Fund project started by Diversity Lab, four major Big Law Firms, and dozens of top corporate lawyers. The project said it aims to bankroll research-based methods to solve the legal profession’s diversity problem. (News.Northwestern.edu)

  • King & Spalding is on a roll with top government hires. After announcing two in a week from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Atlanta-based firm said it got former Interior Department senior lawyer Marcella Burke as a partner in its government matters practice in Washington. (KSLaw.com)

  • Boston-based Ropes & Gray said it’s creating a fellowship that provides a paid, full-time position for a recent law graduate to advocate on racial justice and immigrant rights. The fellowship, a joint project with Boston-based Lawyers for Civil Rights, will be funded with attorneys’ fees the firm and the non-profit won working pro bono in their recent settlement of a federal Voting Rights Act lawsuit. (RopesGray.com)

  • Hogan Lovells has picked up former Delaware Bankruptcy Court Judge Kevin Carey for its business restructuring and insolvency practice, to start Oct. 1. (BLAW via BLB)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck is the latest firm to pick up lawyers from folding firm LeClairRyan. Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck said former LeClairRyan shareholder Karol Corbin Walker joined as a business, commercial, and employment litigation partner in Hackensack, New Jersey. Walker, a 30-year veteran, was the first African American Woman to attain partner status at a major New Jersey law firm and to head the New Jersey State Bar Association. Also joining KDV from LeClairRyan in Newark is Danita Minnigan Cooper, a labor and employment law associate. (KDVLaw.com)

  • Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe added corporate attorney Ed Lukins as a partner in London. Lukins, who joins from Cooley, where he helped found the London office, advises on the life sciences, tech, and oil & gas and natural resource sectors, as well as M&A’s and initial public offerings, among other things. (Orrick.com)

  • Also in London, Squire Patton Boggs said it hired banking partner Ian Yeo, the office’s second financial services partner hire this year. Yeo joins from Herbert Smith Freehills, where he was a partner for 13 years, and he earlier worked at Clifford Chance. Banking partner James Collis is set to join Squire in October from Ashurst, where he was a former managing partner. (SquirePattonBoggs.com)

  • Dykema said corporate finance lawyer J. Michael Bernard, a member in the firm’s Detroit office, was elected as chairman of the World Services Group professional services network for 2019–20. (Dykema.com)

Laterals, Moves, Promotions

  • Arent Fox add logistics & transportation industry in-house leader Robert J. Ernest as a partner in Boston. Ernest arrives from international transportation, logistics, and supply chain solutions provider The Panalpina Group, where he was general counsel for the Americas. (ArentFox.com)

  • Crowell & Moring has hired S. Starling Marshall, a former Covington & Burling and Justice Department litigator, as a partner in its tax and litigation groups in New York. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Mintz bolstered its IP and life sciences practices, getting trademark, copyright and advertising special counsel Karen Won from Cooley. She joins as a member in New York. (Mintz.com)

  • Blank Rome added litigator Brandon W. McCune as an associate in Wilmington, Delaware. He arrives from Potter Anderson & Corroon. (BlankRome.com)

  • Reed Smith added energy and infrastructure disputes partner Clément Fouchard in Paris. He joins from Linklaters, where he spent nearly six years as managing associate. (ReedSmith.com)

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at rMitchell@correspondent.bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Molly Ward at mward@bloomberglaw.com

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