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Burford Capital to fund first UK law firm disputes portfolio

November 11, 2019

The momentum keeps building for Burford Capital as new funded law firm portfolio arrangement is revealed with Shepherd & Wedderburn. Third-party financier Burford Capital has secured its first United Kingdom-based portfolio-financing arrangement with a law firm – Shepherd Wedderburn.

Just last week, Burford’s half-year results revealed the growth of its portfolio financing business which accounted for 25% of its investment commitments so far this year, compared with just 9% invested into single pieces of litigation and arbitration. While Burford’s chief executive Chris Bogart has long-contended that the traditional model of third-party funding is moving towards a corporate financing model, where corporates can use portfolio financing to better manage the impact of litigation or arbitration on their balance sheets, actual UK examples of such arrangements have been slow to come to the fore; with just one USD 45 million portfolio arrangement announced with a FTSE company, thought to be BT, in January 2016 and a later GBP 9 million arrangement, in May 2016, with accountants Grant Thornton (GT) to provide a facility for a portfolio of insolvency cases in which GT partners are trustees.

In a statement, Burford’s London managing director Craig Arnott noted the increasingly competitive legal market and said: “Portfolio finance is an essential tool to help UK law firms to be nimble and innovative to attract clients. We are delighted that Shepherd and Wedderburn has taken a leadership position in the UK legal market in using portfolio finance to grow its business.”

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