“We’re entering a new wave of funding” stated Ralph Sutton. Ralph was formerly the chief investment officer at Bentham IMF. On Tuesday the 26th of June Ralph announced the formation of Validity Finance to provide businesses, law firms and individuals with non-recourse funding for a wide variety of commercial litigation.
“We’re entering a new wave of funding, where capital and legal expertise combine to help solve legal problems on behalf of clients, including law firms with whom we partner,” he added. “What will matter in this new wave – and what will make our industry sustainable – is fairness in funding. At Validity, our mission is to make a meaningful difference in the legal system by focusing on client needs, both in the investment process and in the results.”
Validity is supported by New York and London-based private equity firm TowerBrook Capital Partners. Through their Structured Opportunities Fund Tower Brook Capital have committed $250 million.
Ralph sees Validity as the next stage in the development of litigation funding. Mr. Sutton feels that the litigation funding industry has evolved from a disruptive idea into an accepted business model. The involvement of sophisticated investors and the growing enthusiasm amongst law firms shows how it has grown. Law firms have embraced the ability to better serve their clients with funding solutions.
Mr. Sutton brings a wealth of experience to Validity Finance. After an 18-year career as a trial attorney, in 2006 he co-founded Credit Suisse’s Litigation Risk Strategies Group, one of the first dispute funding entities in the U.S. He later joined Bentham, where Mr. Sutton helped launch and run the Australian-based funder’s U.S. investment business from 2011-17. During his tenure, Bentham’s U.S. operation expanded to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Houston from its New York base. Mr. Sutton also assisted in the establishment of offices in Toronto and London.
In addition to Mr. Sutton, Validity’s team includes Justin Barker, a longtime litigation partner with Kirkland & Ellis, who will oversee the Chicago office. Validity’s Houston office will be directed by Laina Miller, formerly a principal with Houston civil litigation boutique Shipley Snell Montgomery. Also based in New York is Frederick Lee, previously a senior trial lawyer at Boies Schiller Flexner. All three will help Validity vet and oversee investments.
Another member of Validity’s core team is Kate Boyd, formerly a legal technologist and business development professional for law firms White & Case and Shearman & Sterling. Ms. Boyd is charged with leading Validity’s client engagement efforts, with a special focus on using technology to assist clients.