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Client: “If I get documents to you by the end of the day, can you still file them with the court today?”
Investors and consumers are already taking notice of the benefits of legal financing, and as the number of civil cases continues to rise, so too will demand for lawsuit loans.
If you haven’t heard about legal financing or lawsuit loans before, that may change. The practice of legal financing dates back to the early 1990s, but it didn’t take off in the United States until Credit Suisse Securities launched a litigation lending program in 2006 that later became its own company in 2012.
Legal financing, often referred to as a lawsuit loan, is a cash advance that a lender gives to someone in exchange for a portion of their potential settlement or judgment in a lawsuit. In short, legal finance lenders bet on lawsuits that they think will win.
While lawsuit loans are a risky investment, the industry is full of successful startups with millions of dollars in available funding. Since legal financing grew nearly 400% between 2013 and 2017, this may be the perfect time to consider the potential of starting a legal financing company.
How Lawsuit Loans Work.
Lawsuit loans are an immediate cash payment to plaintiffs in exchange for a portion of their compensation when they settle or win their case. Basically, legal financing lenders purchase a portion of the settlement. In addition, lenders charge interest on top of the amount of money borrowed due to the high risk of their investment.
However, unlike traditional loans, lawsuit loans don’t require a credit check, income verification, or employment history. Lenders only approve funding based on the strength of the case, so if a plaintiff has a strong case that is 6-12 months away from a settlement, they are more likely to receive a loan, as described on pre settlement loan websites such as Nova Legal Funding and others.
In addition, lawsuit loans are non-recourse, so the plaintiff doesn’t have to pay back the money they borrowed if they lose the case. The lender accepts the entirety of that risk.
Factors Contributing to the Growth of the Legal Financing Industry.
There are several reasons why legal financing continues to grow throughout the United States. A combination of lax regulations and an increase in personal injury cases contributes significantly to the industry’s growth and shows no signs of slowing down.
According to the New Yorker, the legal financing industry had more than $3 billion in assets in 2016. Another report by Burford Capital found that the number of lawyers in the United States who helped a client apply for a lawsuit loan quadrupled between 2013 and 2015, from 7% to 28%. While competition is hot, it’s clear that legal financing is increasing in demand.
Lack of Regulation.
Since legal financing is considered an investment or payment, it does not have the same federal and state regulations as traditional lending. In fact, most states don’t have any rules regarding legal funding since financing is non-recourse. This makes it easy for entrepreneurs to start legal financing businesses and obtain investors.
However, a few states have new regulations for lawsuit loans in place. For example, the state of Colorado settled a lawsuit in 2015 with a lender after the state’s Supreme Court determined that legal financing was subject to Colorado’s Uniform Consumer Credit Code and that the amount of interest charged is predatory under Colorado lending laws.
More People are Filing Personal Injury Lawsuits.
While the number of civil cases filed in district courts continues to increase, personal injury claims have grown the most.
According to an annual report from US Courts, the total number of personal injury lawsuits filed in a district court almost doubled between 1990 and 2019. In addition, the number of personal injury claims filed between 2018 and 2019 alone increased by more than 20%. In 2019, personal injury claims made up nearly one-third of all civil cases in the US. Most personal injury cases involved motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, defective pharmaceuticals, and marine injuries.
Lawsuit Loans Have a High Rate of Return if Successful.
Most lenders have interest rates ranging from 3-4% monthly, or 36-60% annually. Since lawsuits often take months or years to settle or receive a judgment, the rate of return for lenders is high. For example, if a lender allows a plaintiff to borrow $10,000 at an interest rate of 36% compounded monthly and the case settles in 6 months, the lender receives $10,000 plus an additional $1,800 in interest.
Lenders are Forming Trade Groups to Establish Ethical Guidelines.
Since there are so many legal financing companies operating and few federal regulations, some of the industry’s leading lenders decided to start a trade group called the American Legal Finance Association, or ALFA. With more than 30 members, ALFA provides 90% of all legal financing in the United States.
Members of the organization have their own code of conduct with protections in place for consumers, including restrictions on overfunding, false advertising, and referral commissions. ALFA also supports new consumer protection regulations for the industry and highlights third-party research about legal financing.
Personal Injury Lawsuits Have a High Value.
Since legal financing lenders need the strongest cases possible to make the risk worth their time, they typically fund personal injury cases where negligence plays a significant role.
According to a survey conducted by Nolo, around 70% of personal injury plaintiffs receive a settlement or judgment. Out of all of the plaintiffs surveyed, half received a settlement or judgment worth $10,001 to more than $75,000. Most importantly, plaintiffs who retained a lawyer were more likely to win their case and received more than $75,000 on average. Plaintiffs without a lawyer received almost 80% less compensation as well.
This is the reason why most legal financing lenders require applicants to have a lawyer representing their case. Not only does it significantly reduce the risk of lending, but it also means a potentially higher return.
This is the Best Time to Consider a Legal Financing Startup.
Based on the increased popularity of lawsuit loans, lack of regulations, and high return on lawsuit investments, this is the best time to start a legal financing company. Investors and consumers are already taking notice of the benefits of legal financing, and as the number of civil cases continues to rise, so too will demand for lawsuit loans.
[ad_1] If you haven’t heard about legal financing or lawsuit loans before, that may change. The practice of legal financing dates back to the early 1990s, but it didn’t take off in the United States until Credit Suiss Securities launched a litigation lending program in 2006 that later became its own company in 2012. Legal […]
Based in Tampa, Florida, attorney Christopher “Chris” Limberopoulos emphasizes a knowledgeable approach to auto accident law. Guiding the Florida Law Group, Chris Matthew Limberopoulos has an extensive background in auto product liability and cases involving accidents related to defective parts installed in vehicles. Among those parties that can be held liable for vehicle defects under […]
Growing a blog isn’t simple. It takes time, patience, and dedication before others would begin to notice your blog. While I can’t offer you a magic formula that would increase your blog’s popularity overnight, I can at least help you to promote your blog and find new readers. Here’s what you’ll need to […]
This column first appeared in the San Antonio Express News and other Hearst Newspapers on February 18, 2019. Dear Mr. Premack: My grandmother while in ICU stated that she wanted all she owned including her house to go to me and my bother in law. This was caught on cell phone video. She was later […]
(a) A debtor whose wages are subject to a withholding order may, at any time, request a review by the Department of the amount garnished, based on materially changed circumstances such as disability, divorce, or catastrophic illness which result in financial hardship.
(b) A debtor requesting such a review under paragraph (a) of this section shall submit the basis for claiming that the current amount of garnishment results in a financial hardship to the debtor, along with supporting documentation. The Secretary shall consider any information submitted in accordance with this part.
(c) If a financial hardship is found, the Secretary shall downwardly adjust, by an amount and for a period of time established by the Secretary, the amount garnished to reflect the debtor‘s financial condition. The Secretary will notify the employer of any adjustments to the amount to be withheld.
After determining which rights were violated (whether unintentional or outright fraud) utilizing a universal standard of principles and ULTRS (universal language for testimony and reports) to determine which duty was triggered, we can begin to rectify the situation.
This leads to two questions: 1. Where does this situation fall on the spectrum of fairness and, depending on where it falls, 2. What does that translate into in terms of specific procedures that must be followed?
Spectrum of Fairness
The court in Baker v. Canada (Minister of Immigration and Citizenship) listed four factors which help determine where on the spectrum of fairness a given decision lands. Note that the “legitimate expectations” of the person challenging the decision is a consideration, but it is considered before the factors listed below. The doctrine of “legitimate expectations” does not affect where the decision lands on the spectrum of fairness. Rather, it tells us some of the specific procedures that must be followed.
i. Nature of the decision being made and the process followed in making it: here, an assessment of how formal or informal the decision at hand is made. The more adjudicative the administrative decision maker’s nature and the process it follows (i.e. a formal decision), the more procedural safeguards necessary. The more operational or administrative (i.e. an informal decision), the less procedural safeguards necessary
ii. Nature of the statutory scheme and the terms of the statute pursuant to which the body operates: here, an assessment of the statutory scheme is made. If no further remedies or appeal are available under the statute, more procedural safeguards are necessary because the first level of the decision must be procedurally fair.
An assessment of the complexity of the decision being challenged is also made. If it is a relatively simple decision, it will fall at the lower end of the spectrum.
iii. Importance of the decision to the affected parties: here, an assessment of how important the outcome of the decision is to the parties affected. Where the decision is important to the affected parties, high procedural safeguards are necessary. For example, in Kane it was held that a high standard of procedural fairness is required when the right to continue in one’s profession/employment is at stake.
iv. Choices made by the decision-maker: here, an assessment of the power given to the administrative decision maker over its own procedures is made. If they have a lot of power, they are under a high procedural obligation and the decision is at the higher end of the spectrum.
Once these factors are considered, we end up with a point on the spectrum. The next question is: how does this translate into specific procedures?
The specific procedures required differs case by case. In Mavi, Justice Binnie stated that we ultimately need a fair process by considering what is relevant in the circumstances. There are general considerations that the court looks to when determining specific procedures:
- The determination of specific procedures is a balance of fairness, efficiency and predictability of the outcome; and
- The people affected by a decision have the opportunity to be heard and considered.
The doctrine of “legitimate expectations” can create specific procedures that must be followed where the administrative decision maker has made a certain representation or promise regarding specific procedures that will be followed.
An oral hearing is not necessarily required under the common law where a statute does not specify whether an oral hearing must be held. In Khan, the court held that, if an administrative decision maker is going to decide adversely against someone’s credibility and that person is affected by a decision of the administrative decision maker, an oral hearing must be held.
The enabling statute may state whether reasons for the decisions are required. An administrative decision maker who is subject to the SPPA must give reasons to the affected parties if they ask for them. At common law, Baker clarified that where a decision has important significance for an individual, where there is a statutory right of appeal or in other circumstances, some form of reasons should be required. In Newfoundland and Labrador Nurses’ Union, the court held that, at the procedural fairness stage, the only consideration is whether there is a duty to provide reasons. The adequacy of reasons is not a relevant consideration at this stage. In Baker, it was held that where some form of reasons are required, there is flexibility as to what those reasons generally look like. The courts are very flexible as to what counts as reasons.
At this stage of the analysis, there is a two step test. Determining what procedures are required after determining where on the spectrum a given decision lands is a contextual analysis.
My next blog entry will focus on procedural obligations arising under the constitution.
Procedural Obligations: Duty to Protect via Title 17 Utilizing a Universal Standard of Principles (Part One) via Anthony’s Blog
In my last blog entry, I discussed procedural obligations arising from statute and soft law. What happens when those documents are silent or ambiguous? When a statute is silent or leaves gaps with respect to procedure, the common law steps in to fill those gaps. The other fundamental principle is that to override the rules […]
Top Ten Plagerized Songs in Violation of Copyright Infringement Laws if Permission was not Legally Obtained
Top Ten Plagerized Songs in Violation of Copyright Infringement Laws if Permission is / was not Legally Obtained
Good composers borrow; great composers steal. Some composers get caught. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 rip-off songs. Special thanks to our users Juan David Orduz, Al Bebak and Jakob Silcox for submitting the idea on our Suggest Page at WatchMojo.com/suggest!http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AT_Pbtyid0