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Legal Bisnow
    January 12, 2012  
This Guy Will Pay
For Your Trial

High costs and risk detract companies from taking on litigation. And contingency fees can preclude billable-hour law firms from accepting cases. But Burford says it has the solution.
Jonathan Molot, Burford Capital

Burford is the largest player in a burgeoning litigation finance market, providing cash for firms and companies to fund multi-million dollar lawsuits. CIO and co-founder Jon Molot calls the third-person funding a way to level the playing field, something the G’town Law prof has been writing about and researching for years. In fact, presenting on the subject at a Rand Group conference is where he met former Time Warner GC Chris Bogart, who went on become his co-founder. The company has $210M invested in 35 cases, and is seeing demand grow as US companies and law firms (it's worked with half the AmLaw 50) start considering lit finance a serious option.

Burford CIO Jon Molot

Burford’s bread and butter are commercial cases, such as a real estate dispute it funded that won a $110 verdict; it invests $2-15M per case and collects up to 40 percent of rewards. Jon tells us commercial cases require the shortest length review (from eight days to several weeks) whereas much less frequently accepted patent cases can take over a month. Staff with backgrounds like Barclays CEO, Latham lit chair, or RIAA SVP (DC head Ken Doroshow) are well-placed to judge on Burford’s two main criteria: whether the case has merit, and whether it’s with a lawyer they trust. It recently paid $16M for the UK’s largest lit insurance company and is looking to expand this year to offer to lit insurance and invest in defendants.

Best Golfers, Part II
Sandra Day O'Connor at FBR Open in Arizona

Here's a sequel to our best DC lawyer golfers roundup. Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was the first woman on the High Court, and the first female on our top golfers list. (Clearly, comparable honors.) She was known for her prowess on the links, formerly holding a 12.8 index and introducing her clerks (like Jones Day's Glen Nager) to the game. The justice was a photographer favorite when she played; above, she's at the FBR open in Scottsdale, AZ.

Bracewell energy partner Chuck Shoneman shows off his swing at St. Andrews. A firm sabbatical program meant time to take a break from repping clients like Shell and ConocoPhillips and pop over to Scotland to play at the old course and others in the complex. The course's history makes it his favorite golfing experience. Back in the States, the course near his Nantucket house is tops. And some little-known info about a fellow partner at the firm and on the links: former Mayor Giuliani isn't just an avid Yankees fan, he's an avid golfer.

Venable's Ray Shepherd with dad Ray Shepherd and brother Mark Shepherd

Half of Venable Congressional investigation chair Ray Shepherd's practice is investigations, the other half is lobbying, so it's no surprise he gets out on the links (often with clients) about once a week. The River Bend member is passing along his passion: his 7- and 10-year-old girls have a set of clubs and his 20-month-old son Luke's first birthday present was a set by Fisher Price. (Though he's more likely to be seen chasing the dog with them than a ball.) Ray poses at the "cathedral of golf" and host of the '13 US Open, Merion, with his brother Mark and father, a left-handed scratch golfer and 50-year member.

Brendan Carr, Wiley Rein

Wiley Rein's Brendan Carr wins best associate submission (and the firm tops the charts for top golfer submissions) for fun encounters like being paired with the Atlanta Hawks' Mookie Blaylock. Brendan, the former captain of his high school golf team strikes a pose at his favorite course, Monterey's Pebble Beach. He tells us he was three under par after a birdie on the storied club's seventh hole; putting a ball into Carmel Bay on hole eight brought the round "back down to earth," but he managed a 76. Playing historic course Pinehurst No. 2 was another treat and St. Andrews, of course, is on his wish list.

Did we miss any top golfers? Send them our way: Roksana@bisnow.com.
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