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Burford Capital In GBP200M IPO For Lawsuit Funding
Legal Network | 2009/09/28 17:11
Burford Capital Ltd., a closed-end investment company, said Mondayit wants to raise up to GBP200 million in a share placing on London'sjunior market to mark its place in a small but growing sector of fundsthat help finance companies' legal costs in commercial disputes.

Burford Capital said it will start out by investing in disputesbetween companies in the U.S., as well as in those going tointernational arbitration. Later on, it might expand into to otherjurisdictions, it said. A typical investment is expected to be for morethan $3 million and as high as $15 million.

By providing cash to companies to help foot their legal costs, theGuernsey company will be hoping to pick up a share of any awards orsettlements and then pay out money to its shareholders in the form ofdividends.

It didn't say what percentage of proceeds it would ask for, but similar funds take between 20% and 45%.

The company's investment adviser is Burford Group Ltd., set up by U.S. lawyers Christoper Bogart and Selvyn Seidel.

"Third-party commercial dispute finance is a high growth market,helping plaintiffs or defendants get civil justice," Bogart said in astatement. He said these kinds of investment can generate highlyattractive returns that aren't tied to the performance of stockmarkets.

Bogart's previous jobs include serving as executive vice presidentand general counsel of Time Warner Inc., and as chief executive of TimeWarner Cable Ventures. More recently, he was CEO of Churchill VenturesLtd., a special purpose acquisition vehicle, or SPAC, that dissolved inDecember without having made an investment. He is also general partnerat a private fund, Glenavy Arbitration Investment Fund LP, with asimilar strategy to Burford Capital.


Goldman Sachs Backs Off Blogger
Legal Network | 2009/07/16 18:17
In an article for The American Lawyer, Brian Baxter reports that investment bank firm Goldman Sachs has cooled off on legal battles with Florida-based blogger Mike Morgan. The company quietly agreed to stipulations with Morgan last month.

Morgan agreed to a disclaimer on his page denying any affiliation with Goldman. In return, they will not interfere with his use of the name on the site.

A recent Rolling Stone article by Matt Taibbi has brought more attention to the controversial issues Morgan discusses on the website. In the article Taibbi calls the firm a "vampire squid wrapped around the face of humanity."

Goldman Sachs has responded by saying the article is full of conspiracy theories and, "We reject the assertion that we are inflators of bubbles and profiteers in busts, and we are painfully conscious of the importance of being a force of good."

The firm recently reported $3.4 billion in second quarter profits, exceeding all expectations.

Sotomayor nominated to high court
Legal Network | 2009/05/26 16:23
President Barack Obama chose federal appeals judge Sonia Sotomayor to become the nation's first Hispanic Supreme Court justice on Tuesday, praising her as "an inspiring woman" with both the intellect and compassion to interpret the Constitution wisely.

Obama said Sotomayor has more experience as a judge than any current member of the high court had when nominated, adding she has earned the "respect of colleagues on the bench, the admiration of many lawyers who argue cases in her court and the adoration of her clerks, who look to her as a mentor."

Standing next to Obama at the White House, Sotomayor recalled a childhood spent in a housing project in the Bronx as well as her upper-echelon legal career: "I strive never to forget the real world consequences of my decisions on individuals, businesses and government."

Barring the unexpected, Senate confirmation seems likely, given the large Democratic majority. If approved, she would join Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as the second woman on the current court, the third in history. She would succeed retiring Justice David Souter.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., issued a statement saying he looked forward "to working with both Democrats and Republicans on the Judiciary Committee to confirm Judge Sotomayor as the first Hispanic and the third woman to sit on the court."

Recession cuts law firm growth
Legal Network | 2009/05/26 11:23

The growth in Israeli law firms' activity came to a halt in 2008, due to the recession and reduction in companies' business, which reduced demand for legal services, reports BDICoface in the BDICode 2009.

BDI says that the number of attorneys employed in Israel's 20 largest law firms was unchanged in 2008, compared with 2007, at 1,203. The number of law firms employing more than 100 attorneys was also unchanged, at five.

However, the number of partners at law firms rose by 8% in 2008, which BDI attributes to the firms' wish to keep employees by promoting them.

BDI says that 3,167 new attorneys entered the profession in 2008, 14% more than in 2007. BDI points to the steady growth in recent years in law graduates from colleges compared with universities: in 2008, 72% of all law graduates came from colleges. On the other hand, 95% of university law school graduates passed the bar, compared with 85% of college university graduates.

In the 2008 BDI rankings, Herzog Fox & Neeman Law Office kept its first place ranking, and Goldfarb, Levy, Eran, Meiri & Co. kept its second place ranking. Meitar Liquornik Geva & Leshem Brandwein rose to third place from fifth place in 2007, and Gross, Kleinhendler, Hodak, Nalevy, Greenberg & Co. fell to fifth place from third in 2007. Yigal Arnon & Co. stayed in fourth place.

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