Litigation funders Vannin and Bentham separately announced continued growth in their U.S. operations Monday, with Vannin bringing on several former judges as advisers while Bentham announced hires to oversee a new bankruptcy unit.
United Kingdom-based Vannin, which recently opened an office in New York, announced it was bringing former California Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno, former New York state Court of Appeals Judge Robert Smith and former U.S. District Judge Ricardo Urbina of the District of Columbia, on board as investment advisers.
It’s the latest sign of a trend in the litigation funding industry: a number of former judges have signed on to serve as advisers to foreign-based funders, including Bentham and Woodsford, to help them vet decisions to invest in U.S. litigation.
Smith is currently a litigation partner at Friedman Kaplan Seiler & Adelman in New York, and will continue in that role while serving as an adviser, according to Zac Hall, an investment manager at Vannin. Moreno and Urbina also currently serve as neutrals at JAMS.
“The appointments of Judges Moreno, Smith and Urbina are an important addition to Vannin’s U.S. presence and capability,” Vannin chairman Dan Craddock said in a statement. “The U.S. will be a very exciting opportunity for us in the years ahead and we are looking forward to the contribution that they will make.”
Meanwhile, Bentham on Monday announced the launch of a new unit that provides non-recourse financing to debtors, creditors and trustees in bankruptcy litigation.
“While we’ve funded bankruptcy-related matters before at Bentham, we felt an opportunity existed to create a focused unit to cover the broader waterfront of corporate insolvencies and financial restructurings,” Allison Chock, Bentham’s Los Angeles-based U.S. chief investment officer, said in a statement.
The unit will be overseen by Ken Epstein, who was formerly a managing director at a financial guarantor called MBIA, and previously was an attorney at Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft, Bentham said in a release.
Bentham also announced the hiring of Christopher Young to serve as corporate counsel. Young was previously with The Royal Bank of Scotland, where he advised RBS’ U.S. Financing & Risk Solutions and UK Commercial & Private Banking franchises, according to his online bio. He also was an attorney at Andrews Kurth and Carter Ledyard & Milburn in New York.