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Burford’s Payday Shows Litigation Funding Not Only About Lawyers

Oct. 2, 2020, 12:36 PM

Burford Capital turned a $145 million investment in a group of related lawsuits into a $423 million payday, according to a public filing released Thursday. The litigation funder’s results highlight one of the fastest-growing segments of the legal finance industry: monetizing claims.

Money for Claims: Litigation funders are more frequently buying direct stakes in judgments or legal claims from the clients who hold them. That compares to investing in a case at the outset by agreeing to pay the lawyers’ fees and expenses in exchange for a share of any returns.

Far From Free: So-called monetization deals allow funders to put more money to work and can be easier to close without having to negotiate with lawyers over a legal budget. Burford also said it expects its shares to start trading on the New York Stock Exchange in October. Roy Strom has the story.


Law Firms

Leading Questions: Locke Lord Chair David Taylor
Bloomberg Law spoke to David Taylor, chair of Locke Lord, about opportunity and volatility in uncertain times, how leaders should give people the authority they need to succeed, and the thrill of crafting his first IPO as a young associate.

White & Case Hires Co-Leaders of Sidley Bankruptcy Practice
White & Case says it has hired a trio of partners from Sidley Austin, including the recently named co-leaders of the firm’s bankruptcy practice, Jessica Boelter and Bojan Guzina.

Law Firm Mergers Pick Up Pace, Lag Behind Last Year Amid Covid
Law firm mergers picked up over the summer after cooling during the early months of the pandemic and the outlook is for more deals, but it appears the yearly total will fall far short of a record 2019.

Former JUUL Labs Lawyer Masoudi Returns to Covington as Partner
Gerald Masoudi has returned to Covington & Burling after a five years away from the firm, first as general counsel for pharmaceutical company Celgene Corp., and then as the top legal officer with electronic cigarette manufacturer JUUL Labs.

Two Leading Federal Environmental Lawyers Jump to Perkins Coie
Top environmental lawyers from the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality and the Justice Department are joining the law firm Perkins Coie LLP.

Business of Law

Orrick to Argue Three Cases in First Weeks of Supreme Court Term
Orrick attorneys will argue three different cases before the U.S. Supreme Court during the first two-week argument sitting, which begins Oct. 5.

Perkins Coie Rolls Back Salary Cuts for Attorneys, Staff
Perkins Coie has eliminated salary cuts implemented earlier this year as more law firms walk back austerity measures made in response to the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

Big Law Firms Score Poorly on Climate in Yale Student Ratings
The nation’s 100 most prestigious law firms have worked on 10 times as many cases exacerbating climate change as mitigating it, according to a group of Yale Law School students.

In-House Counsel

Exxon-Mobil Taps Deputy to Replace Retiring General Counsel
An in-house lawyer who recently helped a health care giant navigate lawsuits over the opioid crisis is jumping to Exxon Mobil Corp. as the oil and gas company faces a spate of litigation over climate change.

To Bacardi from Coke: New Legal Chief Joins Spirits Giant
Todd Grice joined Bacardi Limited from Coca-Cola as general counsel and senior vice president to replace former general counsel Eduardo Sanchez.

Self-Driving Truck Maker TuSimple Hires Ex-FMCSA Chief Mullen
TuSimple Inc. has hired former Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration official James Mullen as its new chief legal and risk officer.

Other News

ANALYSIS: Skeptical NY Court Dumps AG’s Early Price Gouging Case
In one of the first price gouging cases adjudicated since the beginning of the Covid-19 crisis, a New York trial court dismissed price gouging charges against Quality King Distributors Inc., a health care products distributor operating out of Long Island, N.Y.

Follow Bloomberg Law’s global coverage of the coronavirus pandemic on our Coronavirus Outbreak channel.


Deloitte-Linked Immigration Firm Opens in Chicago
In today’s column, one Big Law firm told associates they’ll have to hit 2,000 hours for the year to get bonuses; and two other firms said they’ll take associates’ billable hours into account when restoring Covid pay cuts; alternative legal services providers, fueled by an influx of investment, are growing fast and hiring a lot; Kirkland announced 145 new partners; Norton Rose Fulbright’s new chief executive started the job yesterday, three months early.


Supreme Court Term Limits Could Reduce Gamesmanship, Shouting
The presidential debate shouting match started during the first question about the U.S. Supreme Court. Term limits for justices would reduce the political antagonism of the appointments process, Gabe Roth, head of Fix the Court says. A new House bill calls for future justices to serve for 18 years and retired justices to fill in from the time an unexpected vacancy occurred until a new justice was confirmed.

Congress Needs to Empower DOJ IG to Hold Prosecutors Accountable
Attorney General William Barr has it backwards when he says abuse of prosecutorial power can be remedied by oversight from those closest to the president. What’s needed is an expansion of the powers of the DOJ inspector general, say Professors Bruce A. Green of Fordham Law School and Rebecca Roiphe of New York Law School.

The Real Costs of the Dakota Access Pipeline Shutdown
The D.C. Circuit is set to hear arguments in the Dakota Access Pipeline case and will determine the project’s future. Guy F. Caruso, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says in addition to the loss of jobs and tax revenue, the continued shutdown of the pipeline puts America’s energy independence at risk and creates uncertainty for infrastructure developers.

End Forced Arbitration to Honor Justice Ginsburg’s Legacy
The late Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg raised red flags against forced arbitration for workers in her dissent in a 2018 Supreme Court case. To honor her legacy, the Senate should follow the House and pass the Forced Arbitration Injustice Repeal (FAIR) Act, Hugh Baran, staff attorney at the National Employment Law Project, says.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Patricio Chile in Washington at