With more than half of phase two funds committed, Burford crosses historic milestone in cumulative commitments to promote diversity in law
New York City, March 1, 2022 – Burford Capital—the leading global finance and asset management firm focused on law—today announces that it has crossed a significant milestone in its groundbreaking initiative designed to increase diversity in the business of law, with more than $100 million in cumulative Equity Project commitments made to back commercial litigation and arbitration led by female and racially diverse lawyers.
The Equity Project earmarks legal finance capital to promote diversity by giving historically underrepresented lawyers an edge as they pursue leadership positions in significant commercial litigations and arbitrations. The Equity Project also augments companies’ ESG and DEI initiatives by providing incentives for the firms that represent them to appoint historically underrepresented lawyers and to award them origination credit.
The Equity Project first launched in October 2018 with $50 million earmarked to back commercial matters led by women. After having committed more than that amount by December 2020, Burford announced an expansion of The Equity Project in October 2021, earmarking a further $100 million, broadening The Equity Project’s mission to promote both racial and gender diversity in law, and pledging to contribute a portion of its profits from successfully resolved phase two Equity Project matters to organizations that promote development for female and racially diverse lawyers on its clients’ behalf.
As of February 28, with more than half of phase two funds committed, Burford has now made more than $100 million in cumulative commitments to Equity Project matters.
Matters funded to date in this phase of The Equity Project include contract disputes, antitrust, federal statutory, IP/patent and treaty arbitration matters, with female and racially diverse litigators in leadership roles (first or second chair) as well as women-owned firms. Clients include large corporations and large litigation boutiques.
Aviva Will, Co-COO of Burford Capital and leader of The Equity Project initiative, said: “We are delighted by the overwhelming response to phase two of The Equity Project, particularly from corporate clients, and that’s reflected in the fact that we have crossed this significant milestone in a short period of time. The Equity Project is core to Burford’s culture and a part of our daily work, and we look forward to committing the remaining funding soon.”
David Perla, Co-COO of Burford Capital, said: “I’m very pleased to see the rapid commitment of our capital in phase two of The Equity Project. As the industry leader, we recognize that we may be the only commercial legal finance company with the resources to make such a significant financial commitment to increasing diversity in law. We are aware of our unique position and take seriously the significant impact Burford can have on the legal market in all the work we do.”
The Equity Project is supported by 26 Champions from leading companies, law firms and organizations. A list of Champions and more information about The Equity Project can be found on Burford’s website.