Beginning in 1997, Miller held multiple positions at Towers Perrin, a predecessor to Towers Watson. Prior to that, she was an associate in Pepper Hamilton's Philadelphia office. Miller earned her J.D. at Temple University School of Law, graduating magna cum laude. She also holds master's degrees from Indiana University School of Library and Information Science and from Indiana University School of Music.
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MELISSA SOBEL has jumped into the growing litigation finance industry with a move to Burford Group LLC, becoming its first-ever in-house general counsel.
Sobel went to Burford following an eight-year stint at Time Inc., most recently as associate general counsel. She says the new opportunity arose at a perfect time: "I needed a change," she says.
Sobel was also eager to get into a new and growing industry. When she heard about the job opening, she began reading everything she could find about litigation funding, she says. "Sometimes I'd talk to lawyers about it, and even they would say, 'What's that?' " After completing her research, Sobel made her move. The company continues to rely on Latham & Watkins for outside legal advice.
Burford opened its doors in 2009 and is now one of the largest companies in the field of third-party litigation financing. These companies invest money in lawsuits and collect a portion of any recovered funds.
Burford is listed on the London Stock Exchange. The company has committed almost $300 million to its portfolio in three years, during which time its work has included lawsuits involving contracts, real estate, trade secrets, and securities laws.
Since beginning at Burford, Sobel has focused on getting a handle on the company's diverse portfolio. Prior to joining Time Inc., she had focused on corporate work at Debevoise & Plimpton, and she says a lot of the skills she picked up there are helping her transition into her new position. Her experience as associate GC at Time Inc. comes in handy too, she says, since working in the upper echelons of an in-house legal department teaches you how to deal with "everything under the sun."
So far, Sobel is the only dedicated member of the law department, although almost everyone who works at Burford is a lawyer. She says that since the business and the industry are new and growing, the company is less structured than previous places where she's worked. "There's a real inclusiveness in how the development of the business is discussed and how decisions are made," she says.
Sobel graduated from Wesleyan University with an English degree in 1991, and earned her J.D. from New York University School of Law in 1996.