Friday Funding Series: How Litigation Funding Provides Access to Justice

October 20, 2017
movie-reel-friday-funding-series-1

In the first of this 6-part video series by Lawline, Bentham IMF’s Jim Batson participates on a panel discussion with Professor Brad Wendel of Cornell Law School and Evan Fried, a Principal at Greybridge Capital LLC. Throughout this series, this esteemed panel will visit common issues and concerns raised with the use of litigation funding as well as address the benefits of utilizing such funding. In part 1, Jim explains how funding places parties on equal economic footing as well as how it increases access to justice.

(text adapted from video)

Jim Batson: Judge Branston, I think, sums it up best when she says that litigation funding allows lawsuits to be decided on their merits. When I describe litigation funding to people that are new to it, the thing I like to say is it accomplishes two things.

It provides access to justice. A lot of people can't afford the court system. The price of admission to litigation has gotten higher and higher. And I'm not necessarily talking about just individuals, but companies that have been wronged and want to pursue their claims. Even if they can find a law firm that will take a case on a full contingency, they may have to pay the out-of-pocket expenses, which can be so high that they choose not to pursue the litigation.

And the other concept that I like to use when I'm discussing litigation funding is leveling the playing field. We all know that if there's a case that's more or less evenly balanced, and one party has unlimited resources, and the other party has very constrained resources, the party with unlimited resources has a great advantage, maybe an overwhelming advantage. And, quite frankly, that's not fair. It forces cases to get resolved in an inappropriate manner. That is to say, usually, the underfunded party settles for pennies on the dollar, much less than the case is worth.