Third-Party Litigation Finance Conference

Watch Panel One Watch Panel Two Watch Panel Three

Agenda

8 – 8:45 am: Continental Breakfast in the Kelly Lounge (First Floor of Lerner Hall; 20th and H Street)

8:45 – 9 am: Introductions and Overview of the Conference in the Jacob Burns Moot Court Room

9 – 10:30 am: Panel One: TPLF of Plaintiffs in Traditional Litigation

What kinds of plaintiffs in traditional (mainly personal injury) litigation request TPLF and why? What kinds of investors provide finance to plaintiffs of this type?  What are the standard terms of TPLF contracts of this type? What kind of due diligence do investors undertake before making non-recourse loans of this type? What interest rates and other financial terms are typically included in this type of financing? To what extent are investments of this type regulated by existing state and federal laws? What role do plaintiff's counsel typically play in these kinds of investments? What role should they play? What rights, if any, do investors have over litigation strategy, settlement, or appeal in such cases? Should plaintiffs be required to disclose such financing?  To whom should the disclosure be made? What types of financing would be subject to disclosure (bank loans, credit cards, payday loans, home equity loans, etc.)? What would be the advantages and disadvantages of mandating disclosure of TPLF to such plaintiffs?

Moderators

  • Roger H. Trangsrud and Alan B. Morrison

Panelists

  • Jack Kelly, Public Policy, American Legal Finance Association
  • Jeremy Kidd, Mercer University School of Law
  • Eric Schuller, Alliance for Responsible Consumer Legal Funding
  • Tony Sebok, The Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University
  • Maya Steinitz, The University of Iowa College of Law; Visiting Professor, Harvard Law School

10:30 – 10:45 am: Coffee Break in the Kelly Lounge

10:45 – 12:15 pm: Panel Two: TPLF of Attorneys in Traditional and Complex Litigation

What kinds of plaintiffs' attorneys (or defense attorneys) request TPLF and why? What kinds of investors provide finance to attorneys? In what kinds of cases are attorneys likely to seek TPLF? What are the standard terms of TPLF contracts of this type? What kind of due diligence do investors undertake before making loans of this type?  Are these typically non-recourse loans and, if so, what is the typical source of funds for the repayment of such loans? To what extent are loans of this type regulated by existing state and federal law? Should attorneys be required to disclose such financing in all cases, in some cases, only in class actions, or when? To whom should any such disclosure be made? What kinds of loans should be disclosed (non-recourse loans, bank loans, loans from other law firms, etc.)? What should have to be disclosed beyond the existence of such financing? What would be the advantages and disadvantages of requiring disclosure of such loans?

Moderators

  • Roger H. Trangsrud and Alan B. Morrison

Panelists

  • Brian Fitzpatrick, Vanderbilt University Law School
  • Deborah Hensler, Stanford Law School
  • Travis Lenkner, Keller Lenkner
  • Garrett Ordower, Lake Whillans
  • Chris Seeger, Seeger Weiss
  • Alan Zimmerman, Law Finance Group

12:15 – 1:15 pm: Lunch in the Tasher Great Room (First Floor Jacob Burns Law Library)

1:15 – 3:15 pm: Panel Three: TPLF in High Stakes Commercial and Complex Litigation

What kinds of litigants request TPLF in high dollar commercial litigation and why? What kinds of investors provide finance to commercial actors of this type? Are there standard terms in TPLF contracts of this type or are there many different kinds of contracts and many tailor-made provisions? What kind of due diligence do lenders undertake before making non-recourse loans of this type? What interest rates and other financial terms are typically included in this type of lending? To what extent are loans of this type regulated by existing state and federal law? When are such loans required to be disclosed under existing law? What rights, if any, do investors have over litigation strategy, settlement, or appeal in such cases? Should parties be required to disclose such loans? To whom should the disclosure be made? What types of financing should be subject to disclosure? What should have to be disclosed beyond the existence of such financing? What would be the advantages and disadvantages of requiring disclosure of such loans?

Moderators

  • Roger H. Trangsrud and Alan B. Morrison

Panelists

  • James Batson, Bentham
  • John Beisner, Skadden
  • Michael German, Vannin Capital
  • Jon Molot, Georgetown/Burford
  • Victoria Sahani, Arizona State University Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law
  • Ralph Sutton, Validity Financial

3:15 – 3:30 pm: Concluding Remarks


Publications

James Batson

Brian T. Fitzpatrick

Matthew Harrison and John Harabedian

Deborah Hensler

Jeremy Kidd

Garrett Ordower

Alan B. Morrison and Randy Haight

Victoria Sahani 

Eric Schuller

Anthony Sebok

Andrew Strickler

Alan L. Zimmerman

 


Participant Bios

James Batson, head of Bentham’s New York office, is one of the most experienced professionals working in the United States litigation funding industry. Before joining Bentham IMF in 2014, Mr. Batson held roles as Chief Operating Officer and Consultant for two commercial litigation finance companies. He helps companies and individuals obtain non-recourse financing for commercial lawsuits. Mr. Batson has 20 years of experience as a trial lawyer and senior partner with a prestigious plaintiff’s law firm that brought many of its cases on a contingent-fee basis.

John Beisner regularly handles appeals in matters before the U.S. Supreme Court and other federal appellate courts. Over the past 35 years, he has defended major U.S. and international corporations in more than 600 purported class actions filed in federal courts and in 40 state courts at both the trial and appellate levels. Those class actions have involved a wide variety of subjects, including antitrust/unfair competition, consumer fraud, RICO, ERISA, employment discrimination, environmental issues, product-related matters, and securities. He also has handled numerous matters before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, as well as proceedings before various federal and state administrative agencies.

Brian Fitzpatrick's research at Vanderbilt focuses on class action litigation, federal courts, judicial selection, and constitutional law. Professor Fitzpatrick joined Vanderbilt's law faculty in 2007.  He graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's of science in chemical engineering from the University of Notre Dame. He later graduated first in his class from Harvard Law School and went on to clerk for Judge Diarmuid O'Scannlain on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and Justice Antonin Scalia on the U.S. Supreme Court. After his clerkships, Professor Fitzpatrick practiced commercial and appellate litigation for several years at Sidley Austin in Washington, DC.

Michael German works with law firms and claimants on how third-party funding can be used across a broad range of high-value commercial litigation disputes. Based in New York, he is an attorney with significant experience in all phases of litigation in both state and federal court.  Prior to joining Vannin Capital, Mr. German was a Senior Associate at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer and focused on commercial and products liability litigation.

Deborah R. Hensler’s empirical research on dispute resolution, complex litigation, class actions, and mass claims has won international recognition. She is a political scientist and public policy analyst who was the director of the RAND’s Institute for Civil Justice before joining the Stanford Law School faculty.  She has testified before state and federal legislatures in the United States on issues ranging from alternative dispute resolution to asbestos litigation and mass torts and consulted with judges and lawyers within and outside of the United States on the design of class action regimes.

John A. Kelly is a partner in the McPherson Group. He serves as the principal public policy for the American Legal Finance Association. Mr. Kelly is a highly regarded adviser on the management of public policy risk to national and multinational corporations. Previously‚ he has served as a political aide to two U.S. President’s‚ served in staff positions with Congress and in the New York and Federal courts. For 28 years until his retirement‚ Mr. Kelly served in active and reserve components of the United States Army.

Jeremy Kidd is a law and economics scholar who specializes in public choice theory. His primary research focus is on how special interests use the various mechanisms of government to achieve their private ends. He received his JD with honors from the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University in 2007 and his PhD in Economics from the John M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University in 2009. He has practiced as an Associate with Ballard Spahr Andrews & Ingersoll in Washington, DC, and with Strong & Hanni in Salt Lake City, Utah. He also served as a law clerk to the Honorable Ted Stewart, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the District of Utah, and the Honorable Alice M. Batchelder, Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Judicial Circuit.

Travis Lenkner is the Managing Partner of Keller Lenkner. The firm’s clients benefit from his experience as a legal entrepreneur and investment manager, a litigator at one of the world’s leading law firms, in-house counsel at a Fortune 50 company, and a law clerk at the Supreme Court of the United States. Mr. Lenkner and his two partners at Keller Lenkner previously co-founded the litigation finance firm Gerchen Keller Capital, which they grew to more than $1.3 billion in assets under management before it was acquired by Burford Capital in 2016.

Professor Molot writes and teaches in the fields of civil procedure, complex litigation, administrative law, statutory interpretation, federal courts, corporate finance, and insurance law. Before entering law teaching, Professor Molot clerked for Justice Breyer on the U.S. Supreme Court and practiced law at Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton in New York, and at Kellogg, Huber, Hansen, Todd, Evans & Figel in Washington, DC. He graduated magna cum laude from Yale College and magna cum laude from Harvard Law School.

Alan B. Morrison is the Lerner Family Associate Dean for Public Interest & Public Service at GW Law. He is responsible for creating pro bono opportunities for students, bringing a wide range of public interest programs to the law school, encouraging students to seek positions in the non-profit and government sectors, and assisting students find ways to fund their legal education to make it possible for them to pursue careers outside of traditional law firms. For most of his career, Dean Morrison worked for the Public Citizen Litigation Group, which he co-founded with Ralph Nader in 1972 and directed for over 25 years.

Prior to joining Lake Whillans, Mr. Ordower was a litigator at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, where he represented clients in complex commercial litigations, bankruptcy proceedings, and government investigations. He has served as a law clerk to the Honorable Robert D. Sack (2d Cir.) and the Honorable Rebecca R. Pallmeyer (N.D. IL.). Prior to attending law school, Mr. Ordower worked as an investigative journalist and newspaper reporter. He has a JD from the University of Chicago Law School, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the University of Chicago Law Review, and a BS in journalism from Northwestern University. 

Victoria Shannon Sahani is a tenured Associate Professor of Law at Arizona State University Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law in Phoenix, Arizona.  She has over a decade of experience in international commercial arbitration, investment treaty arbitration, and alternative dispute resolution. Professor Sahani has been approached over the years by over thirty entities and individuals seeking her consulting services regarding starting third-party funding enterprises. She has published numerous articles and book chapters on third-party funding. Professor Sahani has been invited to speak on third-party funding at dozens of venues worldwide.

Mr. Schuller is President of the Alliance for Responsible Consumer Legal Funding. Previously, he managed the Government and Community Affairs operations within Oasis Financial which is actively involved in third-party finance. Prior to joining Oasis Legal Finance, he was the President and Executive Director for Operation Homefront Illinois, an organization that supports the members of the military and their families. Mr. Schuller served for 22 years in the United States Army and National Guard and retired as a Command Sergeant Major.

Professor Sebok is an expert on legal ethics, litigation finance, tort law, and insurance law. Before coming to the Cardozo Law School in 2007, he was the Centennial Professor of Law and the Associate Dean for Research at Brooklyn Law School where he taught for 15 years.  Following law school, he clerked for Chief Judge Edward N. Cahn of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.  Professor Sebok has served as an expert witness concerning issues of litigation finance and is the Ethics Consultant to Burford Capital. 

A founding partner of Seeger Weiss, Mr. Seeger is widely recognized as an innovative and accomplished plaintiff attorney.  Since founding the firm in 1999, he has led some of the most complex, groundbreaking and high-profile lawsuits in the U.S., at both the state and federal level.  Chiefly known for multidistrict mass torts and class actions involving drug injury, toxic injury and personal injury, Mr. Seeger’s practice also includes product liability; property damage; consumer, insurance and securities fraud; antitrust; and third-party payer litigation. He has been selected by the courts to serve as Lead Counsel, Co-Lead Counsel, Liaison Counsel, or member of the Plaintiffs’ Executive and/or Steering Committee in dozens of proceedings.

Professor Maya Steinitz teaches civil procedure, business associations, international business transactions, and international arbitration at the Iowa Law School. Her research focuses on a wide range of topics including the intersection of civil litigation and corporate law, public and business international law, transnational dispute resolution, and the global legal profession. She is one of the nation’s leading experts on litigation finance. Her articles have been published in numerous leading law reviews and law journals. Prior to joining the Iowa faculty in 2011, Professor Steinitz held a dual appointment as an Associate-in-Law and Lecturer at Columbia Law School (2009-2011).  Before that, she was a litigator at Latham & Watkins, LLP (2003-2009) and Flemming, Zulack & Williamson LLP (2001-2002). She also clerked for the Hon. Esther Hayut, currently the Chief Justice of the Israeli Supreme Court (1998-1999).

Ralph Sutton is the CEO and founder of Validity Financial. He brought a wealth of experience to Validity. Following an 18-year career as a trial attorney, in 2006 he co-founded Credit Suisse’s Litigation Risk Strategies Group, one of the first dispute funding entities in the U.S. He later joined Bentham, where Mr. Sutton helped launch and run the Australian-based funder’s U.S. investment business from 2011-17. He is a champion of increased access to civil justice and has lectured at Harvard, Stanford, and other law schools.

After serving on the University of Chicago Law Review, Professor Trangsrud clerked for Justice Walter Rogosheske of the Minnesota Supreme Court and practiced law with the DC firm of Hogan & Hartson. In 1982, he joined the faculty of the GW Law School, where he has taught civil procedure, federal jurisdiction, remedies, and complex litigation. His writings are primarily in the fields of complex litigation and jurisdiction.  He was appointed Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 1993, and Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in 2000; he served in that position until 2006 with the exception of one year as Interim Dean of the Law School in 2004–05. He is the Director of the Humphries Complex Litigation Center at GW which is sponsoring this conference.

Alan earned a JD from New York University School of Law in 1967 after receiving his BS in Business from Miami University, Ohio, in 1964. Following his service in the Navy in Vietnam, Mr. Zimmerman founded his own law firm in the San Francisco Bay Area. He practiced law in California and New York for 22 years before founding Law Finance Group in 1994.

 

Hotel Information

One Washington Circle Hotel 
1 Washington Cir NW
Washington, DC 20037
Phone: (202) 872-1680

There are rooms blocked for Nov. 1st and Nov. 2nd. for those who mention they are attending the "GW Law Third Party Litigation Finance" event. 

Rooms must be reserved by Tuesday, Oct. 16 to take advantage of the room block.