Meet the power players of the booming litigation finance industry

Stuart Grant

Stuart Grant: meet the power players of the booming litigation finance industry

  • Litigation funders now have $11.3 billion invested or ready to invest in US commercial litigation.
  • Heavy-hitting players include hedge funds like Fortress Investment Group and D.E. Shaw & Co.
  • Insider interviewed dozens of experts to find out the people and firms supercharging the industry.

Paying for someone else’s lawsuit used to be illegal. Now it’s a multibillion-dollar opportunity.

Today, litigation funders have $11.3 billion invested or ready to invest in US commercial litigation, according to a recent estimate by Westfleet Advisors. Westfleet estimates there are at least 46 litigation funders active in the US market.

Heavy-hitting industry players include hedge funds like Fortress Investment Group and D.E. Shaw & Co. Bankers at Stifel and Jefferies have also worked on legal-industry deals. And some of the biggest funders have formed a trade group, the International Legal Finance Association, meant to be a counterweight to groups like the US Chamber of Commerce that would like to see more regulation of their industry.

Commercial-litigation finance is fraught with risk. In many cases, the money is nonrecourse, meaning that if a case is unsuccessful, investors suffer a total loss. But many funders have made investments in portfolios of cases, in which a win against one adversary can offset a loss against another. And some companies specialize in making loans to law firms that are backed by guarantees, though such companies aren’t the focus of this article.

Since 2020, Insider has spoken with dozens of funders, lawyers, and finance professionals about the commercial-litigation finance industry, with a focus on the US and on investments in categories other than patent litigation. Below are some of the companies and individuals they singled out for their influence and savvy.

Pure Play Private Funders

Bench Walk Advisors was cofounded in 2018 by Stuart Grant, a former lawyer at Skadden who also cofounded Grant & Eisenhofer, a top firm for shareholders litigation. Grant said in an interview with Reuters that he shifted focus to litigation finance after a few adverse court rulings because “I don’t like losing.” His litigation-funding shop claimed a 93% win rate as of the end of last year. It says it’s invested more than $300 million.

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