Bentham IMF completes third round of US hiring since launch of $500m Fund devoted to US investments, bringing on talent to address funding demand for trade secrets and international arbitration disputes

New hires bolster Bentham’s ability to provide specialized expertise and boots-on-the-ground support

Stephanie Southwick and Nilufar Hossain

NEW YORK, September 11, 2019: Leading commercial litigation funder Bentham IMF has completed its third round of hiring since the November 2018 launch of its second fund devoted to US investments. 

Stephanie Southwick, Managing Partner of Greenfield Southwick LLP, a boutique business and intellectual property litigation firm, has joined the company as an Investment Manager and Legal Counsel, adding strength to the team of former Latham & Watkins attorneys in its San Francisco office. Nilufar Hossain, Acting General Counsel at Prakti who previously practiced international arbitration and commercial litigation at King & Spalding LLP and Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP, has joined Bentham as Legal Counsel in its New York City office.

The hires reinforce the company’s established expertise in evaluating cases in areas of practice where demand for funding is high. Intellectual property claimants have long sought support from Bentham due to the high cost of pursuing such cases and the protracted time they can take to resolve. The rapid rise in trade secrets litigation brought about by the passage of the Defend Trade Secrets Act, combined with a strong job market spurring trade secret theft, has prompted increased demand specific to trade secrets funding. Ms Southwick meets the needs of parties bringing those disputes in several ways. In her sixteen plus years as a litigator, she has won numerous verdicts and dispositive motions and secured favorable settlement outcomes for her clients. And she has worked with the types of companies most commonly bringing trade secret claims—start-ups, tech companies and manufacturers. She also has represented VCs, real estate developers, family offices, directors and officers and professional partnerships. Her experience also extends to litigating business torts, contract disputes, founder disputes, and employment matters.

Adding a well-respected expert in trade secrets such as Stephanie Southwick sets Bentham apart,” said Allison Chock, Bentham’s US Chief Investment Officer. “We enhanced our IP funding strengths earlier this year when we hired Kirkland & Ellis LLP partner Sarah Tsou to oversee our US patent funding. Ms Southwick’s arrival broadens our capabilities such that we can now serve as a one-stop-shop for all types of IP funding.”

Arbitration disputes give rise to similar issues that prompt the need for funding. With 14 offices around the world and leading international arbitration practitioners including Dana MacGrath (former Sidley Austin LLP partner and current ArbitralWomen President) on its team, Bentham has the capacity—and the capital strength—to provide solutions for international arbitrations arising across the globe. Nilufar’s experience representing US and foreign clients in cross-border litigations, investigations and arbitrations concerning energy, oil & gas, mining and natural resources, pharmaceuticals, technology, and construction disputes adds to the expertise Bentham brings to bear in vetting such disputes.

The hires also help Bentham mirror the legal department and executive teams of the companies it funds. “Gender and ethnic diversity haven’t driven our hiring strategy, but they are factors we consider as we strive to be the trusted resource that companies around the world can look to for strategic financing solutions,” said Allison Chock. The company’s eleven-person senior investment management team in the US, which is comprised solely of lawyers in business-generating roles comparable to equity partner roles at law firms, now has more women than men—a rarity in the fields of law and finance. 

The team’s newest hires are highly qualified in their respective fields and have demonstrated a commitment to service throughout their careers. Stephanie served as Arts Commissioner for the City of San Jose and a member of the Board of Trustees for the Silicon Valley Ballet (Ballet San Jose), where she has previously served as pro bono legal counsel. She earned her JD, with honors, from The George Washington University Law School where she was a member of the George Washington International Law Review. She studied International Human Rights Law at The University of Oxford and The George Washington University, and she earned her BA in International Political Economy from the University of Washington.

Nilufar previously served on the board of directors for The Synergos Institute, a non-profit engaged in international public-private partnership projects. She received her JD from New York University School of Law, her MA from Middlebury College and her BA from Harvard University, where she graduated magna cum laude. 

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