Legal finance companies are painted with broad brush strokes, similar to the way trial lawyers are. If you have had a bad experience with one or more litigation funding company, I respectfully submit that you have chosen the wrong company(ies). Similar to the charge that trial lawyers are all "greedy" (the cry of the tort deformers), lawsuit finance companies are often accused of charging "outrageous interest".
In a comment to my introductory post, attorney and Injury Board Member Mike Bryant states that "these companies…are contingent on the outcome…so that they can charge outrageous interest and get around usury laws". He goes on to say that lawyers have dumped cases because of the amounts that were owed to legal funding companies. With all due respect to Mr. Bryant, who I have never met or done business with, I view a "these companies" comment the same way I viewed a "greedy trial lawyers" comment when I practiced law; those are broad brush strokes he is painting.
I will be attending the June convention, and I would like to talk to as many members as possible about their own experiences with the legal funding industry. I do not do what I do because I can "charge outrageous interest". I do what I do in the interest of assisting needy people obtain some measure of justice in their litigation. I submit that if Mr. Bryant’s experiences are reported accurately, he has, simply, involved himself with the wrong companies. The InjuryBoard decries some of the unprofessional marketing tactics used by a small number of non-member attorneys in an attempt to obtain business. Those attorneys do not fit the InjuryBoard profile and give all of us a bad name. A significant feature of the InjuryBoard message is to educate the public about pro-justice issues, and to assist those who need an attorney in locating one, in a professional and dignified manner.
I do not apologize for the expense of legal funding services. A litigation finance company places private investor capital in pending cases of all types and at all stages of the legal process. It does so, completely contingent upon the outcome of the case. It does so for clients it has often never met and for lawyers it has no prior relationship with and whose expertise it cannot often qualify. If the case fails, the legal finance company loses its money. Our company often compromises its results to assure an outcome that is fair and reasonable to the plaintiff. Is it any wonder that the service is "expensive" when the predicted result is achieved? Is this any different than an attorney receiving a large contingent fee when the case does well and a lower one (or nothing) when it doesn’t?
Here is my pledge to all InjuryBoard members and their clients: I am in this business to help injured people achieve justice. My service and fees will never get in the way of case resolution. I provide funding for appropriate amounts that comfortably fit projected case value. Often (and this is the desired result), strategically timed and well-placed legal funding enhances case revenue. If the case does not achieve projected results or better, the amount due will be compromised or adjusted to accomodate the actual settlement or verdict results achieved. No attorney should ever have to "dump" a case because of a lawsuit financing company’s involvement.
Hopefully, I will see many of you at the June convention. Please make it a point to visit with me; discuss your experiences with lawsuit financing and address any concerns you have. If you are not attending the convention and wish to talk with me about any lawsuit financial issue, without obligation, please give me a call, toll free, at (877) 377-7848. My goal is to educate as many attorneys as possible on the strategic use of a pre-settlement funding program and to prevent any future distasteful experiences from happening to InjuryBoard members and their clients.
Attorney, certified civil mediator, and award-winning author of the Zachary Blake Betrayal Series. Mark Bello is also a member of the State Bar of Michigan, a sustaining member of the Michigan Association for Justice, and a member of the American Association for Justice.