Company taps Eric Chenoweth, longtime litigation partner of top-ten trial boutique Yetter Coleman to head new office; Bentham sees substantial commercial funding opportunities across Texas’ vibrant litigation market
Widening its U.S. operations into Texas, leading commercial litigation funder Bentham IMF has launched a Houston office, recruiting a prominent Harris County-area attorney to head the new expansion.
Commercial and intellectual property trial lawyer Eric P. Chenoweth arrives from noted Houston-based Yetter Coleman LLP, where he was a partner for the past 13 years. At Bentham, he will head the Houston office, analyzing and managing investments in a wide variety of commercial litigation matters. Mr. Chenoweth will also raise awareness of funding with the bar, bench and wider legal community. He is one of several recent hires by Bentham, whose U.S. team has more than doubled in size in the past two years, with the addition of new investment managers and legal counsel from some of the country’s leading law firms.
The company, which has four other North American offices – in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Toronto – is the first global commercial litigation finance firm to open an office in Texas. The geographical expansion is one of several priorities of Bentham’s Australian parent company, IMF Bentham Limited, for the 2017 fiscal year. Last week, IMF launched a new $200 million litigation finance vehicle exclusively dedicated to funding U.S. cases and matters.
“Entry into the Texas legal marketplace is the rational next step in Bentham’s ongoing expansion, and we are looking forward to having a strong Houston presence,” said Charlie Gollow, Bentham’s US Chief Executive. “Houston is one of the biggest and busiest litigation venues and home to many of the country’s most successful law firms. It also benefits from an entrepreneurial Texas approach to business. We expect to see substantial commercial funding opportunities for area plaintiffs and law firms.”
Welcoming Mr. Chenoweth, Ralph Sutton, Bentham’s US Chief Investment Officer, said: “As a seasoned local trial attorney, Eric is the ideal person to establish and direct Bentham’s litigation funding activities in Houston. He has nearly 20 years of experience trying large IP and commercial suits, and will be critical to expanding Bentham’s national footprint in the Texas market. We feel confident in his ability both to help clients who don’t have capital to pursue strong claims, as well as to make commercial litigation finance a go-to solution for Texas-based firms looking to become more entrepreneurial.”
As a former partner at a boutique recognized by The National Law Journal as one of the top ten litigation-only firms in the country, Mr. Chenoweth is well-equipped to help Bentham invest in winning cases. Among his notable engagements, he obtained a unanimous jury verdict of patent infringement and the full amount of lost profits for a plaintiff in a multi-defendant suit concerning engine exhaust systems used on offshore oil rigs. He also successfully represented a plaintiff in a trial involving claims arising from an insurer’s breach of contract to insure and repair property damage. The verdict was ranked among the top 100 national and top 25 Texas verdicts of 2010.
Admitted to practice in Texas and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Mr. Chenoweth holds a J.D. from The University of Virginia School of Law, and received his B.S. from Syracuse University.
Mr. Chenoweth said, “I believe there are many funding opportunities in Texas and the Southwest. Bentham is superbly positioned to serve as a commercial litigation funder of choice for plaintiffs, companies and law firms across the region that recognize the value of sharing financial risk in their litigation matters. Texans have a strong appreciation for innovation, and Bentham, with its risk-sharing models and excellent track record – will fit extremely well in our market.”