Bentham IMF adds former big law litigators as Legal Counsel in New York and San Francisco

Julia Gewolb (formerly Julia Hamilton) (NY) and Priya Gupta Pai (SF) previously practiced at Boies, Schiller& Flexner and Latham & Watkins, respectively; addition of midlevel litigators highlights appeal of funding as new career path for lawyers.

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO, October 2015: Further expanding its U.S. operations, leading litigation funder Bentham IMF has made two new hires in New York and San Francisco, with midlevel lawyers who practiced at top Am Law 100 firms. 

Joining Bentham as legal counsel are experienced litigators Julia Gewolb (formerly Julia Hamilton) in New York, and Priya Gupta Pai, based in Bentham’s newly opened San Francisco office.  

Ms Gewolb was formerly with Boies, Schiller & Flexner; Ms Pai previously practiced at Latham & Watkins and Kirkland & Ellis. In their new posts at Bentham, both will add to the firm’s analytical, investigative and green-lighting process for funding commercial disputes. 

We are excited to welcome Julia and Priya to our bench,” said Ralph Sutton, Bentham’s U.S.-based chief investment officer. "Both bring impressive backgrounds as in-the-trenches litigators, handling sophisticated commercial, civil and pro bono matters at two of the country’s top law firms.”

Mr Sutton continued: “Our U.S. team has expanded considerably in the past year – a testament to our ability to attract high-quality lawyers interested in promoting greater access to justice and the American legal system through funding.” 

In the past year, Bentham has seen its US professional staff double, particularly from lawyers at top-tier law firms. These include Matthew Harrison, formerly a partner with Latham & Watkins, who now heads Bentham’s San Francisco office, and David Gallagher, previously senior counsel at Akin Gump, who joined in Los Angeles.
The firm also added David Kerstein, formerly of counsel to Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, who joined Bentham as an investment manager in New York.  Bentham’s senior team also includes lawyers who previously practiced at McKool Smith and other boutiques. 

As litigation finance becomes better known, Bentham and some of our peers are attracting well-credentialed lawyers who see funding as a dynamic career path and a viable alternative to partnership at mega-firms,” Mr Sutton noted.   

Charlie Gollow, Bentham’s Australian-based chief executive observed that “our lawyers use their legal skills, negotiating talents and strategic thinking in our work.  But they also become entrepreneurs, using their business skills, as well. This ability to draw on different skill sets is rare in law, and we expect to see more talented lawyers drawn to the profession.” 

Ms Gewolb spent four years at Boies, Schiller & Flexner in New York, where her practice focused on complex commercial litigation.  She received her J.D. magna cum laude from New York University School of Law, where she was Managing Editor of the New York University Law Review and a member of the Order of the Coif.  Prior to joining Boies, Schiller & Flexner, she served as law clerk for Judge Gladys Kessler of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.  In 2015, Super Lawyers named Ms Gewolb a “Rising Star” in Business Litigation. 

Ms Pai practiced for several years at Latham & Watkins in San Francisco, and before that at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago. She has represented clients in a variety of complex commercial disputes, including antitrust and competition, intellectual property, white-collar, and breach of contract actions.  Ms Pai received her J.D. with honors from University of Chicago Law School and her B.A. from Duke University.