Bankruptcy trustees have long been coveted clients by litigation funders who say they can provide down-and-out companies money to pursue claims in court.
Chicago-based Longford Capital Management LP is making a play based on that strategy with its hire Monday of director Marc Carmel from Paul Hastings, where he was of counsel after joining that firm in 2011 from Kirkland & Ellis’ partnership. Carmel left Paul Hastings on Friday.
Carmel will go from a practicing attorney to a salesman of sorts, helping the litigation finance company find cases worth investing in. He will also play a role in vetting cases during Longford Capital’s underwriting process. Launched by a pair of partners from Chicago’s Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg in 2012, Longford Capital raised $56.5 million for its first fund, according to a securities filing.
Crain’s Chicago Business reported in February that the first fund had produced returns of 70 to 90 percent for investors, and that Longford Capital was looking to raise $250 million for its second fund.
If it launches another fund, Longford Capital will now have more manpower to help allocate the funds. In February, the litigation financier hired former Nixon Peabody partner Russell Genet, national leader of the firm’s intellectual property litigation practice, to work in a similar director role now held by Carmel.
Carmel (pictured right) said he had not worked on a case that was financed by a third party, but he had seen cases that could have benefited from financial backing. Carmel was enticed to join Longford Capital, he said, because of his interest in business.
“This is an industry that’s evolving at a rate more quickly than law firms in general,” Carmel said. “I wanted to be part of an industry that’s growing in a way that allows me to be very entrepreneurial.”
Last week the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Legal Reform (ILR), citing an increase in the use of litigation financiers, put forth a proposal calling for the federal judiciary to adopt a nationwide disclosure requirement for third-party litigation funders.
Executives at Burford Capital Ltd. and IMF Bentham Ltd., who compete with Longford Capital, criticized the proposal. Federal tax records show that the Chamber’s ILR paid $747,373 to Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld and $714,528 to Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom for legal research in 2015.