19:40, June 30 236 0 law.com

2017-06-30 19:40:05
UK Litigation Funder Expands in US After Launch Last Year
Eric Blinderman, left, and William Weisman, right.

A little more than a year after launching in the United States under the leadership of a former Proskauer Rose lawyer and restaurateur, litigation funder Therium Inc. is expanding in New York.

Therium Inc.—the U.S. arm of U.K. litigation financier Therium Group Holdings Ltd.—announced on Thursday that it has brought on William Weisman as an investment officer. Weisman, a former Gordon & Rees and Proskauer litigator, most recently worked for Liberty International Underwriters Inc., overseeing litigation matters as part of the company’s directors and officers insurance business.

At Therium’s U.S. operations, Weisman joins CEO Eric Blinderman, who left Proskauer last year to launch the financier’s American offshoot. In a statement, Blinderman said that Weisman, who has focused on complex financial services litigation, would bring particular expertise in that area.

“Will is a first-class lawyer and brings a wealth of experience handling highly complex litigations,” Blinderman said. “He will play a key role in servicing our business in the United States, particularly with respect to financial services litigation and related products where we are seeing tremendous growth.”

Blinderman moved into the litigation funding business after an already varied career that included his role at Proskauer and a two-year stint with the U.S. Justice Department that posted him to Baghdad during the early years of the Iraq War. He also owns Mas (Farmhouse), a well-regarded restaurant in Manhattan’s West Village. (Mas has been closed since last summer, after a fire struck in its kitchen, according to news reports. But the restaurant is now set to reopen on Saturday.)

Therium’s U.S. arm also includes chief investment officer Patrick Dempsey, another former Proskauer lawyer who was a senior Hogan Lovells associate immediately before joining Therium. Robert Dwyer, a former longtime Dorsey & Whitney partner who retired from the firm in 2013, serves on Therium’s investment committee in the United States and as a non-executive chairman of the U.S. financier’s board.

In addition to the U.S. expansion, the litigation funder said that it added a new investment officer hire in London at Therium Capital Management. Jeunesse Edwards joined from a rival litigation funder in the U.K.—Augusta Ventures LLP—where she served as director of strategic engagement, a role that involved sourcing cases and conducting due diligence on potential litigation matters, according to Therium.

Neil Purslow, the co-founder of Therium Group Holdings, said the moves on both sides of the Atlantic come as the financier experiences a bump up in demand.

“We are continuing to see strong growth in demand for our litigation financing services on both sides of the Atlantic, which is why we have expanded our investment teams in London and New York. Jeunesse and Will are fantastic additions to the group,” Purslow said.

At the time of Therium’s launch in the U.S. last year, Blinderman said the litigation finance shop differed in some respects from rivals. Although it provides financing for individual cases, Therium’s offerings in the United States also include sophisticated structured financial products that a law firm or in-house corporate legal department could use to fund a portfolio of litigation matters.

Therium’s expansion in the United States follows similar moves by other litigation finance firms earlier this month.

In mid-June, The American Lawyer reported that Chicago-based Longford Capital Management LP hired former Paul Hastings of counsel Marc Carmel to help beef up a focus on bankruptcy trustees. And on Monday, California-based litigation funder VGL Capital LLC announced that it had hired Barry Mandel, a retired Foley & Lardner partner who also previously served as the in-house litigation chief at Merrill Lynch & Co. Inc.

Scott Flaherty covers the business of law with a special focus on plaintiffs firms. He can be reached at sflaherty@alm.com. On Twitter: @sflaherty18.