Starting the new year with brisk momentum, leading commercial litigation funder Bentham IMF reports strong recent results in its US investment portfolio, the launch of a Canadian office and the hiring of its first Chief Marketing Officer.
Bentham, which pioneered commercial litigation funding, shared the following US performance metrics for the past year:
- A 60% surge in viable investment opportunities considered by the firm.
- The successful or partial conclusion of six funded matters, including three portfolio deals with law firms, and several large-scale disputes with additional recoveries expected going forward.
- New funding of 15 disputes (out of nearly 300 presented for the firm’s consideration in 2015).
- Annual US claim value representing one-third of the company’s global annual claim value, with projections that the figure will reach 50% in the next several years.
“We’re extremely pleased with our benchmark results in the US for 2015,” said Andrew Saker, Managing Director and CEO of Bentham’s parent company, IMF Bentham. “The robust jump in quality funding opportunities confirms that we have become the funder of choice for claimants and law firms seeking access to the civil justice system.”
On the operations side, Bentham reported the following news for 2016:
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- The opening of an office in Toronto, making Bentham the first leading commercial litigation funder in the world to establish a Canadian presence in support of the growing demand for dispute funding in the market. The office, headed by Tania Sulan, Chief Investment Officer for Canada who formerly served as an investment manager in several of Bentham’s Australian offices, is Bentham’s fourth office in North America, after New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco.
- A US team that has doubled in size with the 2015 addition of new investment managers and legal counsel from some of the country’s leading law firms, including Julia Gewolb (ex-Boies Schiller); David Gallagher (ex-Akin Gump); (Matthew Harrison (ex-Latham); and Priya Pai (ex-Latham and Kirkland Ellis).
- Global growth to more than 60 professionals in 10 offices in the US, Canada, UK and Australia, making Bentham the largest commercial litigation funding firm in the world.
- The appointment of its first Chief Marketing Officer for the US, Gretchen Lyn Koehler. A former practicing attorney, Gretchen arrives from litigation powerhouse Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, where she had been Director of Business Development and Marketing since 2012. She previously worked in similar capacities at Kenyon & Kenyon LLP, Dechert LLP and White & Case LLP.
“As our business has accelerated, we have expanded to provide local expertise and accessibility to clients in key markets,” said Bentham’s US Chief Investment Officer Ralph Sutton.
“We also felt the time was right to add an experienced business development executive to our US team to help lead a number of planned initiatives,” Mr. Sutton added, including the launch of additional US offices. “We’re fortunate to have Gretchen Koehler step into that role,” he said. “Gretchen has a strong command of the litigation economy and has directed successful efforts in business generation, branding, communications and other areas important for executing on our US business plan.”
Ms. Koehler commented on her move: “I’m excited to join Bentham, whose consistent presence at the forefront of the industry and record of continually innovating solutions for sharing and monetizing litigation risk, set it apart as the premier funding firm for companies and individuals seeking access to justice.”
Ms. Koehler earned her J.D. from Benjamin Cardozo School of Law (2003) with a concentration in intellectual property, and a B.S. cum laude from Loyola University in Chicago (2000).