Second Roundtable on Litigation Funding
Bentham IMF’s second US roundtable discussion took place in January 2014 at Stanford University’s Center for the Legal Profession. Co-hosted by Bentham IMF and the Center, it surveyed several new legal and ethical issues in commercial litigation funding. The purpose of these roundtables is to increase transparency about funding in the U.S., and examine best practices. We believe this will naturally lead to wider acceptance of funding. Attended by a group of leading academics, lawyers and litigation funders, the Stanford discussion focused on sustainability of the funding industry, and self-governance, among many other topics.
With 13 years of funding experience in over 11 countries and in three continents, Bentham advanced the view at Stanford that the US funding industry could benefit from organized self-governance. Bentham has proposed the formation of a US litigation finance association, similar to the UK association, which can provide a voice to the industry, establish best practices and provide access to a dispute resolution system. Bentham has already adopted its own Code of Best Practices, which it sends to each prospective client, and prominently posts on its website. This Code sets out standards of professional conduct for US funding companies and stakeholders. Our Code was easy to articulate because we were able to adapt it in relevant part from the codes we already adhere to elsewhere in the world (Australia and the UK). We currently have over 35 professionals working in 8 offices.
In addition to the UK’s Association of Litigation Funders (ALF), the International Council of Commercial Arbitrators has formed a task force to propose a code of best practices for funders working in commercial arbitration. The world is finding a need for funding and recognizing the need for standards of conduct and articulated professional practices. Bentham invented litigation finance, so it is no surprise we are also leading the call for greater transparency. In turn, greater transparency will lead to greater understanding and widespread acceptance.