Chambers and Partners has started ranking litigation funding firms, the latest sign that litigation finance is here to stay.
The UK-based organization, which ranks corporate lawyers and litigators around the world, ranked six firms in its first-ever litigation funding guide. The firms are organized into three tiers — Band 1, Band 2 and Band 3.
In Band 1 are Bentham IMF and Burford Capital, both based in New York. Bentham IMF, a longstanding player in the litigation funding industry, is owned by IMF Bentham Limited, which is publicly listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
The practice of litigation finance originated in Australia before coming to the United States. Burford, considered the largest litigation funder, is also publicly listed, with a market cap of approximately $4 billion, according to Chambers and Partners.
Band 2 is made up of Lake Whillans Litigation Finance and Longford Capital Management. A relative newcomer to the field, Lake Whillans closed a $125 million round of funding at the end of 2017. Longford closed its second fund in August at $500 million.
In the final tier, Band 3, Chambers and Partners ranked Vannin Capital and Woodsford Litigation Funding.
Chambers and Partners did not include any specific methodology with its ranking of litigation funding firms. According to a general summary of methodology on the organization’s website, it judges firms based on interviews with clients and other lawyers and by “assessing recent work done.”
A representative for Chambers and Partners could not immediately be reached for comment.
Alongside litigation funders, Chambers and Partners also ranked four lawyers associated with the firms: Christopher Bogart of Burford, Allison K. Chock of Bentham, Michael Nicholas of Longford, and Boaz Weinstein of Lake Whillans.
Although litigation finance is growing in the United States, little is known about which firms are funding what cases. The practice has generated criticism from some defense firms and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, who argue that plaintiffs should be required to be transparent about who is funding their litigation.