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Litigation Finance and Your Career

by | May 21, 2024

litigation finance

Back when law was a profession and not a business, landing a job at an established firm reasonably set you up for a long and fruitful career.  Firms had institutional clients.  Lateral moves among stable firms were rare.  And partners cared about mentoring the next generation because the next generation would pay for their retirement.  Those halcyon days are long gone.  Today, even the most profitable and prestigious firms suffer defections as partners search for the highest guaranteed dollar.  The corollary effects of this reality are legion, but one of the more interesting ones is that it has substantively increased the need for associates to take ownership of their careers at an increasingly early stage.  In this changing ecosystem, if you want to succeed, you need to be an entrepreneur.  And litigation finance can help. 

Ⅰ. Assist early-stage companies in pursuing meritorious litigation that they cannot independently afford

One of the key methods successful lawyers use to build a book of business is assisting their friends and members of their broader professional network who might need legal services.  For more senior partners, this usually means staying in touch with friends, classmates, and former colleagues who have management positions at large banks or corporations and hoping that they will refer work.  Unfortunately, the people most in need of those connections (i.e., associates and junior partners) generally do not have such well-placed contacts.  One of the key exceptions to this general rule, however, is early-stage startups and small businesses.  Even in your twenties and early thirties, there is a good chance that you know someone who has started a business.  Those companies have litigation; indeed, they often have high-value litigation that they fail to pursue based on the fact that they do not have sufficient funds and the consequent assumption that they are without recourse.  Be the conduit that rights their wrongs by using litigation finance to pursue such matters.  Your ability to do so proactively will show value to both the firm and your client.  And will help differentiate you from your colleagues. 

Ⅱ. Identify and pursue meritorious claims

I started my career at a big law firm in New York.  As a general rule, they are great places to learn by working with accomplished lawyers on headline-grabbing matters.  But even in big law, equity partners in litigation spend significant amounts of time worrying about their next big matter, particularly as rates have risen through the roof.  Searching for a solution, an increasing number of firms have taken the tack of developing contingency fee practices.  If you are fortunate enough to work at such a firm, give thought to developing your own litigation thesis and pursuing that worthy claim.  

A big part of this process is getting over the fear that you cannot identify meritorious cases.  Do not worry.  Hard work, drive, and an entrepreneurial spirit can get you far. And, to the degree that you worry about experience, involve your more senior colleagues in the process.  They like initiative and are usually willing to help, particularly where it could increase the firm’s revenue.  The best way to do this is to think like a plaintiff lawyer. Read the news. Talk to members of the community. Think about how your area of experience can uniquely position you to bring cases. In their best form, plaintiff lawyers seek to redress concrete societal harms through the courts. Be that active citizen.  

Ⅲ. Start your own firm

Another option for the ambitious senior associate or non-equity partner seeking to make a name for themselves is to build your own practice.  Historically, very few people left big law to start their own firms; indeed, doing so was often a mark that you simply “couldn’t cut it” in the big leagues.  Not so anymore.  Today, we increasingly see strong lawyers launch their own practices at an earlier stage of their careers as a means of sidestepping the political and economic considerations that can artificially stifle careers at established law firms.  Like venture capital firms, litigation funders can provide seed capital for law firms that have a clear business plan and book of meritorious cases.  


The bench of litigation finance firms is wide, and it can be difficult to differentiate among organizations in the space.  At its core, what makes Certum Group different is our unique ability to help you be the entrepreneur you need to be in order to make a place for yourself in the increasingly competitive world of high-end litigation.  Our team of lawyers has worked at some of the top firms in the country and is well placed to help you bring meritorious litigation or launch your own firm.  Call us.  We can help. 


  • W. Tyler Perry

    Tyler is a Legal Director at Certum Group, where he sources and evaluates litigation finance and insurance opportunities from the country’s leading lawyers and claimholders.

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