David Morley

Former Allen & Overy senior partner David Morley said that Vannin Capital is “aiming at the top end of the market” as he takes up his new role as chairman of the litigation funder ahead of its planned float on the London Stock Exchange.

In an interview with London-based Legal Week on Monday, the same day that Vannin announced his hire as chairman, Morley said he believed the appetite for litigation funding is growing in a variety of jurisdictions.

“I previously didn’t know that much about the litigation finance market, but after speaking to more experienced litigators and arbitrators it quickly became apparent to me that it is here to stay, and on a high growth trajectory,“ said Morley, whose new role at Vannin is one of a number of posts he has assumed in the wake of his retirement as Allen & Overy’s senior partner in 2016. “Increasingly, clients need to be advised on what the options are for litigation finance, and the U.K. has become a world leader in this.”

Linklaters corporate partner James Wootton is advising Vannin on it plans to float on the LSE, which will see the company issue £70 million ($91.2 million) of new shares as part of the initial public offering, as well as a sale of part of the shares held by existing shareholders to facilitate a 25 percent free float. Simmons & Simmons, another large British firm, is advising banks serving as underwriters for Vannin’s IPO.

Morley will spend around 40 days a year in his new role at Vannin, alongside his other positions chairing Allen & Overy’s Leadership Centre program and London-based private equity firm Elaghmore Partners, as well as advising leading Indian firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas.

“As the company goes through a transformation from a private to a public company, my first job is about helping to create the conditions for an effective board and decision making processes,” said Morley about Vannin, which in late August hired former Bloomberg Law president Scott Mozarsky and ex-Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner partner Ania Farren as managing directors in New York and London, respectively.

Morley noted that in terms of clients, Vannin is aiming for the top end of the market, citing its recent additions of Farren and others. Vannin’s New York office opened in 2017.

According to Vannin’s statement of intent to float, since its launch in 2010, the litigation funder has provided 70 funding commitments to clients, with an aggregate funding commitment value of £164 million ($213.7 million) as of June 30. The company said it intends to expand into Singapore and Hong Kong, as well as aiming to make additional hires in commercial arbitration and increase its overall head count.

Morley, who retired as senior partner at Allen & Overy in 2016 after 36 years at the Magic Circle firm, succeeds former Vannin chairman and co-founder Dan Craddock, who will move into the role of deputy chairman. Morley, who joined Allen & Overy as a trainee in 1980, was elected managing partner of the London-based legal giant in 2003 and then senior partner in 2008, before being succeeded by Wim Dejonghe in 2016.