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5 minutes with... Reda Hicks

Reda Hicks, based in Texas, is a Vice President who helps US law firms and companies leverage Burford’s capital and expertise.

You were most recently the former senior legal counsel of a global company based in Texas. What brought you to Burford?

I was attracted to Burford’s approach to legal finance and the quality of its team. I had known about the company’s reputation of being the best-in-class legal finance firm for years and, upon joining the company, got to fully understand how Burford integrated equity into its business model—something that really spoke to me. The future of the legal industry will be built on a broader spectrum of talent and experience than ever before and Burford facilitates that future.

I also really appreciate that there is a focus on collaboration and creativity here. People at Burford share a high degree of respect for one another and work together to serve each client to the best of their ability—which is why I’m so glad to be a part of this company.

Given your in-house background based in Houston, what do you see as the biggest pain point among corporates in the region—and how do they solve it?

Finding the right counsel for the right matter is a major pain point among corporates given that the industry varies widely in the Gulf Coast region. Each company faces its own niche issues, which are oftentimes the most underbudgeted. It can be difficult to find the person with the right skills at the right price point when looking for outside counsel.

Speaking from a technical standpoint, in-house attorneys tend to search for the right people on the web and can end up with no options. It’s important for outside attorneys to share information on their specializations so that their colleagues in the community are aware of they do. They should also ensure that their websites are search engine optimized for their whole practice so that they appear in searches. Right now, accessing information to make the right choice of counsel is a struggle, but there are many ways to make it easier.

The 2021 Citi Hildebrandt Client Advisory forecasts that Texas will be one of the few regions in the country with continuing growth in the legal industry. Why is that?

The legal market is growing because the economy is growing. In the past five years alone, over 40 AmLaw 200 firms have opened in Dallas, Austin and Houston. Texas performs well in many industrial sectors, which provides Texas firms with a large client base. 

Big Energy is increasingly investing in clean technology alongside their typical markets. The medical and biotechnology industries in Texas are also growing rapidly, with innovation ecosystems in Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio. Large companies are expanding or relocating to different parts of the state to take advantage of cheaper real estate and no state taxes. While more business may not be the only reason legal work in Texas is increasing, I think it is a huge contributing factor.

Despite having a long history in Texas, legal finance is not yet universally understood in the state. What is the biggest misconception lawyers have about legal finance?

The biggest issue in Texas is not miseducation, but general awareness. There are plenty of attorneys who have never heard of legal finance, but the ones that have understand the industry well. Many attorneys also consider legal finance as a tool for single-case investments rather than portfolios. As more conversation happens in Texas about the wide range of legal finance, more attorneys will take advantage of the available tools.

Top 5…favorite restaurants in Houston?

It’s hard to narrow it down as the culinary scene in Houston is truly amazing. If we’re talking staples, I would say:

  • Original Ninfa’s on Navigation for Tex-Mex
  • Breakfast Klub for breakfast
  • Common Bond Bakery for amazing pastries
  • Down House for a wonderful patio lunch
  • A 2nd Cup for the best cup of coffee in town