Christopher Dore is a Director with responsibility for overseeing Burford’s underwriting of and investment activity in nationwide consolidated litigation and other complex commercial matters. Prior to joining Burford, Mr. Dore was the Partner-in-Charge of case development, investigations and client acquisition at Edelson PC.
What advice would you give law firms that are seeking to expand their offerings in the privacy space? How can legal finance play a role?
The data privacy space is crowded by law firms that are hesitant to break into new lines of cases and test boundaries. As such, there is a piling on effect that occurs when a single issue is deemed to be actionable (e.g., a high-profile data breach). This inevitably results in firms being sidelined and not having the opportunity to be a meaningful part of the litigation. Instead of following that path, by taking the time and investing in the right resources to break new ground in the privacy space, a firm can put itself at the forefront of the litigation. Taking this course is often viewed as a riskier and more expensive pursuit; legal finance can provide the liquidity to de-risk that opportunity and give a firm the platform to pursue novel theories that have greater long-term potential.
What are trends are you seeing in the data protection litigation space?
Over the last decade, the range of privacy lawsuits has increased exponentially. There is a renewed focus on how sensitive information is handled and shared by companies with which people interact with on a regular basis. This can include instances where highly sensitive medical information may be shared with parties entirely unrelated to medical care. The unlawful collection or use of biometric information has stayed at the forefront of privacy litigation as technology becomes even more ubiquitous and hidden in products and services without any consumer awareness. As has always been the case, legislative fixes lag substantially behind the pace of technology, and civil litigation drives meaningful change.
As a former partner-in-charge of case development at Edelson PC, a firm that has litigated many of the largest class actions in the data privacy sector, what are some ways that such cases differ from other types of class action suits?
Many of the cases in this space turn on granular aspects of technology, so understanding the industry and the underlying complexities is paramount. Obtaining that tech expertise, either internally or externally to the firm, makes a substantial difference in the success of the case (and helps determine which cases to pursue in the first instance). While many privacy issues are apparent on the face of it, or are revealed through the investigations of others, those companies that are looking to profit from the monetization of data make great effort to conceal their actions, and only those firms that can apply non-legal skill sets to their case selection and prosecutions are likely to find and win those next level cases.
What does your transition to the legal finance industry enable you to do that you couldn’t do before?
Approaching the wider plaintiff’s bar from the capital side enables me to influence a variety of practices and help diversify their work to fuel growth and success. While the firms we focus on have meaningful industry reputation and a strong track record of success, I can use my experience to help them make strategic choices in using capital to further level up and achieve long term goals. By focusing on a number of practices instead of just one, I too can continue to learn and expand my knowledge base about the industry as a whole and use that broader perspective to assist those we work with.
Top 5 favorite Chicago food destinations?
- The Warbler (Lincoln Square)
- Next (Fulton Market)
- Virtue (Hyde Park)
- Kasama (Ukrainian Village)
- Monteverde (West Loop)