These were perhaps the standout quotes from one of the AM Top 20 panellists at our recent International Arbitration Funding panel debate in London. The debate evening provided a lively discussion between our esteemed panellists which included partners from White & Case, Jones Day, K & L Gates, Cleary Gottlieb, Fried Frank and others.
In addition to addressing hot topics such as protecting privilege and disclosure of third party funder’s involvement to arbitrators, debate focused on the changing strategies within law firms to respond to today’s clients. While some sceptics were still concerned by the risk exposure firms face, others already experienced in promoting an alternative fee strategy believe the risks can be managed and that
“if you are not offering these deals, you are at a competitive disadvantage.”
This theme mirrored June’s panel debate on Intellectual Property Litigation Funding, where many believed the world of alternative fees (including litigation funding, insurance and more creative retainers) is starting to gain significant traction. Perhaps most startling is that these views are being expressed by partners in large AM top 50 law firms.
Although, specialist litigation boutiques certainly shouldn’t be sniffed at as they’ve highlighted the rewards that a managed strategy can achieve, with some boutiques’ PEP now rivalling magic circle firms (click here to view the recent article in The Lawyer).
The lure of aggressive business development and forward thinking is also spurring some big summer moves within the city. Formerly of counsel at Skaddens and recently on the opposite side of Addleshaw Goddard in the Beresovsky v Abramovich case, Kambiz Larizadeh advised The Lawyer he was attracted to Addleshaws because of how they break away from traditional law firm models:
“like their conditional fee arrangements, willingness to explore external and third party funding and their road mapping process, which shows a commitment to delivering services in a more efficient way.”
As contingency fees are now feasible within the UK, anticipation is rife that, should the legislators alter the rules to allow for partial contingency fees arrangements (as many expect them to do in due course), the impact across the legal sector could be significant, particularly for those early innovators.
However, innovation need not mean undue risk. The tools available to support law firms and their clients extend beyond traditional third party funding with a more sophisticated market than many lawyers realise.
“Once you scratch beneath the surface, firms quickly discover there is a whole host of ways through which they can manage risk and make even the seemingly economically tricky cases viable.” Matthew Amey, Director, TheJudge.
To learn more about recent developments in the litigation funding market or to discuss a particular case in need of funding, contact us today.