Bentham IMF, the U.S. arm of Australian litigation funder IMF Bentham Ltd., continues to add experienced litigators to its investment team, announcing the arrival of former partners from Kirkland & Ellis and Sidley Austin on Tuesday.
In its second round of hiring since its launch of a new $500 million fund, Bentham is picking up Dana MacGrath from Sidley and Sarah Tsou from Kirkland. MacGrath will be responsible for leading the company’s investments in international arbitration matters, while Tsou will focus on evaluating intellectual property matters, particularly patent litigation, for investment. Both attorneys are based in New York.
MacGrath said the move appealed to her because she saw litigation finance as a tool to increase the availability of arbitration to parties in disputes, a point also recently made by the new leader of Freshfields’ U.S. arbitration practice.
“I’ve been a proponent of arbitration from many angles—conducting arbitrations, working as an arbitrator and serving as the president of the board of ArbitralWomen,” MacGrath said. “I feel that litigation finance has a lot to contribute to the field of arbitration. That was a big deal to me.”
Before her time at Kirkland, she also practiced at Allen & Overy and O’Melveny & Myers. At all three firms, she focused primarily on commercial arbitration, but her practice also included arbitration.
In a statement, Benno Kimmelman, a co-leader of Sidley’s global international arbitration practice, congratulated MacGrath on her move.
“Dana played an integral role in helping us build and expand our International Arbitration practice into the market-leading practice it is today,” he said. “We are well-positioned to continue our positive growth trajectory and wish our valued colleague well as she embarks on this exciting new chapter in her career.”
Tsou spent over a dozen years at Kirkland litigating patent disputes and other IP matters on behalf of clients ranging from startups to Fortune 100 companies.
“I saw firsthand just how costly that type of litigation can be and how critical litigation finance can be so that meritorious claims can be brought successfully,” Tsou said.
Allison Chock, Bentham’s U.S. chief investment officer, noted that the firm did not set out with the goal of hiring two women, but that she was thrilled the two top candidates proved to be female, creating a 50-50 gender balance on the company’s senior investment team.
“I think Bentham has always been supportive of gender diversity in leadership,” she said.
While the company engaged a headhunter to fill the positions, Chock said Tsou and MacGrath’s names both came from their law firms, who have previously partnered with Bentham.
“We’re looking forward to continuing our working relationships with both Sidley and Kirkland,” she said.
Bentham also announced the hire of a new chief of staff, Tina Young, from Deloitte Consulting. Young has over 25 years of experience working in the financial services and media industries for such companies as JPMorgan Chase & Co., Morgan Stanley and Reuters America.
In December, the company added Daniela Raz, the former general counsel and chief operating officer for LightRay Companies LLC, and Fiona Chaney, a former trial lawyer from Los Angeles-based litigation firm Pasich, in New York and Los Angeles, respectively.
A week before that, Bentham announced a new $500 million fund, to be built with $400 million from outside investors and another $100 million of its own.
Chock expects that Bentham’s U.S. team, having grown to 25 people, has finished its hiring for 2019.
“We’re probably pretty good for the next 12 months,” she said. “But never say never.”