UK litigation funder seals $20m investment deal with US boutique

London-based Woodsford Litigation Funding has announced a $20m (£15m) investment deal with US litigation boutique Lewis Baach Kaufmann Middlemiss, less than a month after Woodsford opened its first US outpost in Philadelphia.

Describing the deal as a “global portfolio financing facility”, Woodsford and Lewis Baach said in a joint statement that the agreement would allow the law firm to use the funding in any jurisdiction.

It is meant to go toward matters in which Lewis Baach “is prepared to offer contingency fee arrangements, and where funding is required for the additional litigation expenses, including expert witness fees, e-discovery costs and court and tribunal fees”.

The two sides said the funding agreement will give Lewis Baach confidence that the law firm will have resources behind it to pursue cases that might otherwise not be brought, either because they carried too much risk or potential costs. The law firm, which has 35 lawyers based in offices in Washington DC, New York, London and Buenos Aires, is a litigation boutique that focuses on international commercial and financial disputes, intellectual property, insurance and white-collar defence and investigations.

“This agreement provides not only financial resources to facilitate meritorious litigation, but also creates synergies of litigation judgment and sensible management that are beneficial to lawyers, funders and clients alike,” Lewis Baach senior partner Eric Lewis said in a statement. “We are excited about this new and exciting chapter in our relationship.”

The $20m investment follows a track record of the two sides working together, Woodsford and Lewis Baach said.

“We have enjoyed a long and successful relationship with Lewis Baach and I am delighted that we can continue to assist them and their clients in litigation and arbitration around the world,” Woodsford CEO Steven Friel said in a statement.

For Woodsford, the deal with Lewis Baach comes on the heels of the litigation funder’s recent expansion in the US.

In July, Woodsford announced the launch of its first US office in Philadelphia. The litigation funder also said at the time it had added Stroock & Stroock & Lavan of counsel Shira Scheindlin, a former New York federal judge, and former Latham & Watkins partner David McLean to its advisory panel, which helps vet cases for possible investments.

Reporting on Woodsford’s American expansion in July, wrote that it marked the latest sign that the business of investing in lawsuits was doing well in the US. Other foreign-based litigation funders, including Bentham IMF and Therium, have also recently expanded in the US through hiring and new offices.

At the time of its US launch, Friel, the Woodsford CEO, told that his business would aim to invest $150m during the following three years, with roughly three quarters of that going toward US litigation. Woodsford invests primarily in business-to-business litigation, but has also backed securities class actions and environmental mass tort actions, Friel said.

The news comes after Scots firm Shepherd and Wedderburn recently agreed a portfolio financing arrangement with litigation funder Burford Capital, a deal touted as the first of its kind for a top 100 UK law firm.