Saturday, July 13, 2019

Litigation financing is no longer so repugnant

Litigation financing has a long history, during much of which it was regarded as repugnant (including a medieval word, "champerty").  But now comes news that the great law and economics scholar, and long-serving but recently retired appellate judge Dick Posner has joined a litigation fin-tech firm. (Does that make him a champion of champerty?  In fact his retirement had to do with his dissatisfaction with the way the courts treat people who can't afford lawyers...)

The American Lawyer has the story:

Posner Casts Lot With Litigation Funding Underdog Legalist
The retired Seventh Circuit jurist has joined Legalist, a San Francisco operation founded by two Harvard dropouts, as an adviser.
By Dan Packer

"Since Richard Posner’s surprise retirement from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in 2017, he’s focused much of his energy on making the justice system more accessible and responsive to pro se litigants.

"That impulse has informed the 80-year-old polymath’s latest move: Posner is entering the world of litigation finance. But he’s not taking a position with one of the giants of the nascent industry. Instead, he’s signed on to serve as an adviser to Legalist, a San Francisco start-up founded by two Harvard undergrads in 2016. 

“The principal motive for my retirement was the failure of the court to treat litigants without financial resources fairly,” Posner said in a statement issued by Legalist. “Litigation finance patches an important hole for businesses with valid claims who lack the funds to hire an attorney.”

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