Litigation Funding: The Basics and Beyond

Third-party litigation funding is gaining a foothold in the United States. A global phenomenon, litigation funding has taken secure root in the United Kingdom, Australia and Hong Kong. It is, however, relatively new in the United States, and for many here the practice is wrapped in mystery. As a result, the Center on Civil Justice at NYU Law examined the impact it may have on our justice system and what, if any, regulation might be necessary. The center does this as part of its mission to engage scholars, practitioners, judges, and others in examination of issues affecting the civil justice system. The objective is to consider how participants in the system can be more satisfactorily served, while preserving the values that have made it a pillar of our democracy.

For our 2015 fall conference, NYU Law’s Center on Civil Justice brought together leading academics, lawyers, and funding company representatives to promote understanding of this varied and complex industry. You can find a video recording of each of our panels below.

Panel One

Our first panel will provide a basic understanding of what litigation funding is and how it developed in the United States. Discussion will focus on the needs that created demand for funding here, as well as the economic and legal environment in which funding operates.


  • Selvyn Seidel, Fulbrook Capital Management (Moderator)
  • Timothy Scrantom, Scrantom Dulles
  • Alan Zimmerman, Law Finance Group
  • Lee Drucker 11Lake Whillans Capital Partners
  • John Desmarais, Desmarais
  • Radek Goral, Legal tech startup consultant

Panel Two

The second panel will build on the basics. Participants will explain and discuss different subcategories of funding, each of which may raise different conceptual, practical and/or regulatory concerns.


  • Geoffrey Miller, New York University School of Law (Moderator)
  • Maya Steinitz, University of Iowa College of Law
  • Joshua Schwadron, Founder and CEO, Mighty
  • Bradley Wendel, Cornell Law School
  • Michael G. Faure, Maastricht University & Rotterdam University, the Netherlands
  • Jef De Mot, Ghent University
  • Travis Lenkner, Gerchen Keller Capital


Panel Three

This panel will assess the potential for litigation funding as a tool for collective actions by states and municipalities, as well as in private arbitrations after American Express v. Italian Colors.


  • Samuel Issacharoff, New York University School of Law (Moderator)
  • Brian Fitzpatrick, Vanderbilt University Law School
  • Catherine Piché, University of Montreal
  • Anthony Sebok, Cardozo School of Law
  • Thomas Coyle ’15, Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen, and Katz

Panel Four

Our final panel will look at funding in the context of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. While there is currently no comprehensive framework for regulation of the industry, the Federal Rules can provide some guidelines. The Rules may protect against some of the concerns raised by opponents of litigation finance, and could help realize some of the promise touted by propoents.


  • Arthur R. Miller, New York University School of Law (Moderator)
  • Stephen Gillers, New York University School of Law
  • Michael Fishbein, The Law Officies of Levin, Fishbein, Sedran & Berman
  • Elizabeth Chamblee Burch, University of Georgia School of Law
  • Maria Glover, Georgetown Law School
  • Victoria Shannon Sahani, Washington & Lee University School of Law

Closing Remarks by Peter Zimroth