10:49, August 15 211 0

2017-08-15 10:49:09
Woodsford seals funding deal with US litigation boutique

UK-based Woodsford Litigation Funding has secured a $20m (£15.4m) portfolio funding deal with US litigation boutique Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss, The Lawyer can reveal.

Through this deal, Lewis Baach will be able to offer clients an expedited one-stop arrangement in the financing of high-value litigation and arbitration.

This is the second significant deal to be confirmed since last month, when Burford Capital and UK 100 firm Shepherd & Wedderburn sealed a financing deal to offer alternative fee-arrangements to clients and allow the latter to grow its litigation and arbitration offering.

Lewis Baach, which has offices in New York and New York and representative offices in London and Buenos Aires, has a long-standing relationship with Woodsford. This is the first arrangement of its kind for both parties.

“This particular facility has come out of a long and successful relationship,” Woodsford CEO Steven Friel told The Lawyer. “It’s also a function of the fact that the litigation funding world is evolving. We’re moving on from single case by case funding into these facility or portfolio discussions.”

“Our arrangement with Lewis Baach provides that if they care to proceed on a contingency fee basis they can, subject to a conversation with us.”

The facility ensures that Lewis Baach can seek out and pursue meritorious claims that could otherwise fail due to cost and uncertainty.

Woodsford is engaging in discussions on both sides of the Atlantic with firms interested in this type of arrangement.

Friel said that for now, the US demand is higher because firms have “traditionally been more open with sharing risk with their plaintiffs”. He also claimed that the demand in the UK is growing.

The deal covers matters in any jurisdiction around the world for which Lewis Baach is prepared to offer contingency fee arrangements, and where funding is required for the additional litigation expenses, including expert witness fees, e-discovery costs and court and tribunal fees.

Talking to The Lawyer, Lewis Baach partner David Liston said that the firm “has a number of patent cases” that it might use the facility for, but did not discount pursuing arbitration matters coming out of Latin America.

This news comes amid a confirmation of Woodsford’s plans to open an office in Philadelphia last month, hiring former US district judge Shira Scheindlin as an adviser to its investment panel.