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2022 ILFA Conference: The sophistication of legal finance in the arbitration context

  • International arbitration
January 12, 2023
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At its inaugural annual conference on October 24 in New York, the International Legal Finance Association (ILFA) gathered a group of arbitration experts to discuss the future of international arbitration.

“For some time we’ve seen a shift from the single case funding model to          portfolio funding. Now we're seeing even more sophisticated forms of law firm financing and there's a whole menu of options out there. I think that trend is going to continue—thinking about funding in an increasingly sophisticated way and seeing those models which exist in the market enter the mainstream in international arbitration as well.”

- Ina Popova, Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton

Popova reinforces the increasingly sophisticated nature of legal finance, particularly in the arbitration market. The industry has developed significantly from its origins in fees and expenses financing of a single claim.

Since Burford created the first portfolio in 2011, portfolio finance (a capital facility financing multiple distinct litigation and/or arbitration matters) has become a preferred tool among companies and law firms. Another product that is increasingly popular with companies is monetization. A monetization is a legal finance arrangement in which a company accelerates the value of a pending claim, judgment or award, benefiting the balance sheet by enhancing liquidity and reducing risk.

As Popova states, the wide range of potential legal finance products can be tailored to meet client needs. As demand for legal financing products grows, Burford is witnessing increased appetite for our cost- and risk-sharing solutions: We committed a record-breaking $1.1 billion to new business in 2021—growing our portfolio of legal investments to over $5 billion.

About the panel

The panel was moderated by Lindsay Gastrell, Senior Counsel, Arbitration Chambers; Lee Caplan, Partner, Arent Fox Schiff; Anna El-Erian, Director, Gabriel Resources; Ina Popova, Partner, Debevoise & Plimpton and Jara Minguez Almeida, Team Leader / Legal Counsel, ICSID.