SAN FRANCISCO — There is a lot of uncertainty around the ethics and application of third-party litigation funding, but the reality is many in the legal community want to explore its possibilities about how it can fund increasingly costly legal proceedings.
During a panel discussion yesterday at the Association of Corporate Counsel annual meeting here, Matthew Harrison, investment manager, legal counsel with Bentham IMF, said when he tells people he’s a litigation funder he gets three different responses. “It’s either disgust, admiration or by far the most common is confusion over litigation funding and what it really means.”
Litigation financing has been around in various forms for a long time — contingency fee arrangements and insurance coverage first appeared in the United States in the 1800s. But today, Australia, the U.K. and Germany have taken the lead on third-party litigation funding. It’s also growing in Hong Kong and South Africa, and funders such as Bentham opened an office in Toronto earlier this year.