Burford recently celebrated its first decade in business. As we look ahead to the next decade, we've asked a group of relatively new Burford employees to share their perspective on our ten-year milestone and how they think the industry will grow and evolve.
Matt Lee is a Principal at Burford with responsibility for leading its investment activity and operations in Australia and focused on working with companies, funds, investors and law firms engaged in complex commercial litigation and arbitration in Australia and abroad.
Litigation finance got its start in Australia but its use there is still largely limited to class actions and insolvency. How do you foresee this changing in the decade ahead?
Increasingly, corporate legal teams and their preferred law firms are looking for legal finance to offer solutions to business challenges arising from a variety of different types of business disputes, and corporates are now taking a much closer look into the benefits of portfolio financing as a tool that can remove the risks associated with such disputes. Additionally, corporates, investors and law firms are looking for funders that can provide solutions to disputes that transcend one jurisdiction—and clients often choose Burford because we can work seamlessly across jurisdictions. Corporate clients may use legal finance to remove liability and de-risk their balance sheets, and law firms may use it as a business development tool or to achieve greater predictability around their billings. As part of this expansion, legal finance will evolve from a tool used by plaintiffs firms to being used by both law firms and their corporate clients to unlock value through portfolio financing, claim and judgment monetization, and assistance with the recovery of assets in foreign jurisdictions.
What legal finance trends do you see in Burford’s second decade?
We can expect to see a much more widespread use of legal finance by law firms and businesses around the world as it consolidates its position as a mainstream form of finance. As this happens, you will see adoption of various forms of legal finance in more jurisdictions where businesses come to fully understand its wide-ranging benefits and regulators and courts take greater notice of the important role legal finance plays in promoting efficient and effective access to justice.