Global litigation funder Bentham IMF forms US advisory panel to grow its business
Bentham has achieved a 95% success rate in completed case funding, yielding $1.5 billion in recoveries.
NEW YORK, October 15, 2014: Bentham IMF, the US arm of the world’s most successful litigation funding firm, Bentham IMF Limited, announced that it has formed an advisory panel of renowned trial lawyers and legal experts to provide strategic support to Bentham. The Panel will help Bentham advance its commitment to fairness, transparency and sustainability in the US litigation funding industry. Beyond mere success in their careers, each panelist has made a significant contribution to ethical standards in the law, and to increased access to justice in the U.S.
Bentham’s new advisory panelists include:
- Washington, DC-based insurance litigator Peter Gillon, co-head of the insurance practice at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman;
- Litigator Reed Oslan, commercial litigation partner in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis;
- Los Angeles-based litigator Peter Ostroff, co-chair of the complex commercial litigation practice at Sidley Austin LLP;
- Civil trial lawyer Roman Silberfeld managing partner of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi’s Los Angeles office, and member of the firm’s Executive Board;
- Houston/New York-based commercial litigator Stephen Susman, founder of Susman Godfrey; and
- Cornell University Law School Professor W. Bradley Wendel, a noted commentator on litigation funding, professional responsibility and legal ethics.
Fuller biographies of the panelists follow below.
“We’re thrilled to have assembled such a renowned group of trial lawyers and thought leaders to advise us in the US,” said Ralph Sutton, Bentham IMF’s Chief Investment Officer. “They will serve as excellent counselors to Bentham and help advance awareness of litigation funding among law firms and corporations.”
The formation of the advisory panel is the latest expansion for Bentham’s US subsidiary, which was launched in 2011 and has offices in New York and Los Angeles. Bentham’s US operation adheres to the funding approach of its Australian parent, Bentham IMF Ltd., which has been listed on the Australian Exchange since 2001, and innovated litigation funding on a global basis. The company has seen 159 cases to completion in the past 13 years, and generated nearly $1.5 billion in recoveries from these cases. Bentham enjoys a success rate of better than 95%, attributable to the firm’s extensive due diligence and skill in selecting highly meritorious cases to fund.
Bentham’s advisory panel will hold quarterly calls and an annual meeting. Its inaugural meeting took place this week in Chicago. The panel will review current regulations regarding litigation funding and the state of play of the US market for dispute funding.
Mr Sutton noted that the panel is well-suited to educate the legal and financial communities about Bentham and the benefits of commercial litigation finance. “Our panel members are well-known for their high ethical standards and understanding of best practices with regard to complex commercial cases," he said. “We will consult with them regularly on issues related to our own investments and are certain their collective experience will broaden our portfolio in the US.”
Charlie Gollow, Bentham’s managing director noted: “Our panel members are incredibly effective in their areas of practice. Professor Wendel of Cornell has spoken and written frequently on matters related to litigation financing and Reed Oslan at Kirkland has managed a risk-partnering practice for over 15 years. We’re looking forward to working with these six innovative practitioners, and to convening our kick-off meeting.”
Panelist Stephen Susman, widely regarded as one of the country’s top trial lawyers recognized the value of establishing a working panel of advisors “Litigation finance is an absolute necessity for leveling the economic playing field in our judicial system – it is a powerful tool to help qualified claimants, plaintiffs and defendants, assert their legal rights and gain access to justice.”
“Unfortunately, there are still pockets in the legal community that view litigation funding as comparable to selling poison to minors – they think lawsuits are dangerous, frivolous and too numerous, and that there should not be a valid mechanism for financing,” Susman added.
Reed Oslan of Kirkland & Ellis added, “Litigation finance is a real and growing asset class and has the potential to be a game-changer in making the US litigation landscape more equitable. We applaud Bentham for bringing this group of litigation experts together to continue moving the process forward and I’m excited to be a part of the dialogue.”
Roman Silberfeld of Robins Kaplan commented about the new panel: “The role of third-party litigation finance has proven its validity in the world we live in. As a practicing trial lawyer, the key questions I ask are: which funders conduct their business thoughtfully, which are developing best practices and acting ethically. I’ve gotten to know several leading firms personally and by reputation, and have found Bentham to be best in class. It’s frankly a privilege for me to be part of Bentham’s ‘kitchen cabinet' as a thought provider and sounding board. Our mission is important as the litigation funding industry continues to develop rules of the road and as litigators and corporate America better understand the threats as well as the opportunities for growth.”
About the members of Bentham’s U.S. advisory panel
PETER M. GILLON: A nationally recognized insurance litigator, Mr Gillon co-leads the Insurance Recovery and Advisory practice of Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, and is based in the firm’s Washington, DC, office. Mr Gillon's significant representations include litigation of United Airlines' business interruption claims arising from the 9/11 terrorist attacks and serving as coverage counsel to one of the owners of the Macondo well in connection with the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Mr Gillon graduated with a B.A. from Duke University and holds a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.
REED S. OSLAN: Mr Oslan is a commercial litigation partner in the Chicago office of Kirkland & Ellis LLP. He has over twenty-five years of experience handling environmental, commercial, transactional and international disputes. His firm’s General Commercial Litigation practice obtained a “Tier 1” listing by Chambers & Partners in 2014. Mr Oslan graduated with a B.A. from the University of Colorado at Boulder and holds a J.D. from the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law. He served as a law clerk to the Honorable Chief Judge E. Noland, U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana.
PETER I. OSTROFF: Mr Ostroff is senior counsel in Sidley Austin LLP’s Los Angeles Litigation group and co-chair of the firm’s Complex Commercial Litigation practice. With over four decades of litigation experience, Mr Ostroff’s legal achievements have been recognized in the 2011-2015 editions of The Best Lawyers in America in four categories: Bet-The-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Intellectual Property and Labor and Employment. He was further recognized for Entertainment Law-Music. Mr Ostroff is recognized as a Litigation Star in the 2013 and 2014 editions of Benchmark Litigation. He earned a B.A. from Washington University and holds a J.D. from The University of Chicago Law School. He served as a law clerk to the Honorable Shirley M. Hufstedler of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
ROMAN M. SILBERFELD: Mr Silberfeld serves as the managing partner of Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi L.L.P.’s Los Angeles office, and is a member of the firm’s Executive Board. A prominent trial lawyer who has first-chaired a wide array of commercial litigation disputes, Mr Silberfeld has served numerous times as court-appointed lead counsel of litigation committees in multi-party, complex litigation. In Celador International, Ltd. v. The Walt Disney Company, he represented the creator of the “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” game show in a breach of contract lawsuit against Disney and its subsidiaries, ultimately obtaining a federal jury award of nearly $319 million. Mr Silberfeld’s professional recognitions include being named one of the“500 Leading Lawyers in America” by Lawdragon, a "Top 100 Lawyers in California" by the Los Angeles Daily Journal, and a "Winning Litigator" in The National Law Journal. Mr Silberfeld graduated with a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles and holds a J.D. from Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.
STEPHEN D. SUSMAN: Mr Susman is the founder of Susman Godfrey, one of the nation’s leading litigation boutique law firms. The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers has twice named Mr Susman the leading commercial litigator in the world, The National Law Journal has featured him as one of the nation's top ten litigators, and The Best Lawyers in America has recognized him as being included in the distinguished group of attorneys who have made the list for 25 years or longer. Mr Susman is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Texas School of Law. He served as a law clerk for the United States Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black as well as for The Honorable John R. Brown of the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. W.
BRADLEY WENDEL: A member of Cornell Law School’s faculty since 2004, Professor Wendel focuses his research on legal ethics. He has written and spoken frequently on the topic of litigation finance, most recently publishing A Legal Ethics Perspective on Alternative Litigation Financing, 55 Canadian Business Law Journal 133 (2014). Professor Wendel is also a co-reporter for the ABA Commission on Ethics 20/20, Alternative Litigation Finance Working Group. Professor Wendel graduated with a B.A. from Rice University and holds a J.D. from Duke University Law School. He also holds an LL.M. and J.S.D. from Columbia University Law School. Before entering academia, Professor Wendel was a product liability litigator at Bogle & Gates in Seattle and a law clerk for The Honorable Andrew J. Kleinfeld of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
About Bentham IMF
Bentham IMF provides access to justice for companies and individuals who would otherwise have difficulty funding expensive commercial cases against larger defendants. Bentham adheres to its own highly selective “Australian funding model,” which enjoys a better than 95% success rate. Bentham and its Australian parent company have reviewed thousands of commercial cases in the past 13 years and invested in more than 180. Its 159 completed cases have generated over $1.5 billion in recoveries. The American Lawyer magazine recognized the company among the Top 50 Law Innovators in September 2013. For more information, please visit www.benthamimf.com.