Fiona Chaney, with Bentham IMF.

Bentham IMF, the U.S. arm of Australian litigation funder IMF Bentham Ltd, which last week launched a new $500 million fund, has added two experienced litigators to its investment team.

Daniela Raz, formerly a distressed asset investor, general counsel and chief operating officer for LightRay Companies LLC, has joined Bentham’s New York office. Meanwhile, Fiona Chaney, a former trial lawyer from a Los Angeles-based litigation firm Pasich, joined the Bentham’s Los Angeles office.

Daniela Raz.

“I have spent about 15 years litigating commercial cases, but primarily on the plaintiff’s side and then I managed litigation on the company side, so Bentham seems like a perfect home for me,” said Raz. “It has an unparalleled track record of helping companies mitigate risks and prioritize growth by obtaining financing for their claims.”

Before making the switch to join a consulting services company in 2017, Raz was an attorney with the litigation-only firm Kasowitz Benson Torres for 14 years, where she served nine years as a partner. Raz primarily represented plaintiffs in complex commercial matters.

“For me, it is a really exciting opportunity to use both my extensive contacts and my 15 years of experience in insurance recovery litigation, which is an area where you really frequently see a disproportion of access to justice for policyholders in disputes,” Chaney added.

Prior to joining Bentham’s Los Angeles office, Chaney was an insurance recovery partner at a local law firm Pasich, where she joined two years ago from Liner, a Los Angeles-based boutique acquired by DLA Piper last year. Before that, she was at Dickstein Shapiro’s Century City office for about three years.

Both joined Bentham as investment managers last week. While outlining their duties for the new role, Raz said they will help “Bentham assess and identify and diligence investment opportunities and conduct diligence on these opportunities and assist the company by deploying funds towards litigation matters and monitoring them as they proceed through court.”

With the additions Raz and Chaney, Bentham now has about 20 legal counsel in the United States, including 10 in New York, five in Los Angeles and three in San Francisco and two in Houston. The Australia-based litigation finance company announced last week that its U.S. arm had raised another round of funding, totaling up to $500 million for its capital needs in the U.S. market for the next four years.

“I have spent a bulk of my career litigating on the plaintiff side and have found one constant in all of that work, which is the real imbalance in the resources on the plaintiff side,” said Chaney. “So, funding can play a big role in leveling the playing field and allowing companies to divert money and risk toward an entity that is capable of handling it.”