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Recent legislative activity intended to make litigation funding more transparent may or may not be warranted, but it does at least continue one salutary trend, which is to broaden the debate on the ethical and social issues at play.

For years, that debate was largely a shouting match between the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the funders themselves as to whether third-party funding—whereby investors subsidize cases against corporate and other deep-pocket defendants on a contingency basis—would further pollute the civil justice system or provide a healthy David-and-Goliath impact on the playing field. The funders have further argued that their investment activities actually help purify the docket simply because they’re not about to sink millions of dollars into nonmeritorious cases.

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