NEW YORK, September 29, 2020 – Therium, a leading global provider of litigation, arbitration and specialty legal finance, is pleased to announce the launch of a new publication aimed at educating corporations and their legal departments on the importance of monetising their litigation assets through structured affirmative recovery programs. A Good Offense: The Therium Guide to Creating an Affirmative Recovery Program, is available as a progressive eBook, beginning today with the release of chapter 1, which introduces the concept of affirmative recovery and delves into its history. New chapters will be released during the last week of each month moving forward.
The legal departments of the world’s corporations were created out of necessity. Legal has always been viewed as a cost center, defending potentially costly claims against the company as efficiently as it can, and ensuring that transactions and other contractual matters are structured properly. Legal departments, however, regularly bypass potentially valuable litigation claims because the financial and other risks required to monetize litigation assets are viewed as too steep. That was already the case in a strong economy, let alone the current downturn. COVID-19 and the subsequent economic downturn are causing corporations to lose value each day, leading to tighter budgets and greater pressure on all departments. At the same time, they must find revenue wherever they can.
“Corporate legal departments have the potential to become drivers of revenue if they can successfully monetise litigation claims,” said Eric Blinderman, CEO of Therium US and one of the publication’s co-authors. “In this economy it is more important than ever that they do just that. We developed this eBook to assist in-house counsel in identifying potential high-value claims and mitigating a broad range of internal and external risks as they formalise a program for initiating plaintiff-side litigation.”
After using the first chapter to lay the groundwork for the story of affirmative claims, future chapters will include:
- Structuring an affirmative recovery program
- Identifying claims
- Selecting claims and managing risk
- Financing litigation
- Managing outside counsel
- Making settlement decisions
- Achieving buy-in (and maintaining it)
Chapter 1 Abstract
In 2004, the legal department of E.I. du Point de Nemours and Co. launched an initiative to maximize its recoveries and contribute to the company’s bottom line. “When a certain amount is at stake,” DuPont’s then-assistant general counsel Tom Sager said, “we have an obligation as counsel to the company to pursue claims.”
To those outside the legal profession, this posture may sound unremarkable. But historically, recovering such funds has not been a priority. DuPont’s strategy changed all that. In 2004, its law department recovered $100 million for the company. Within a decade, it had recovered more than $2.6 billion. That figure is enough to establish the obvious benefit of a program like DuPont’s, known as “affirmative recovery programs.” And they have many additional advantages. Among them is the satisfaction of achieving the oft stated but rarely realized goal of making a legal department a profit center rather than a cost center.
Which raises an obvious question: why aren’t more companies following their lead?
In recent years, corporate legal departments have taken tentative steps toward adopting a more aggressive mindset. Three-quarters of the Fortune 500 have filed lawsuits as plaintiffs in what could be called “affirmative recovery” matters. But a much smaller portion of the Fortune 500 have created their own programs.
Complacency and tradition are the two most basic forces that have kept legal departments from asserting legal claims. Conventional wisdom has long held that it’s not the general counsel’s job to make money for the company. Instead, lawyers served the singular function of defending the company from legal risk. And the generally defensive orientation of in-house legal departments made a comfortable fit with the risk-averse nature of its lawyers.
Despite the forces keeping legal departments from bringing lawsuits, they have gradually begun to adopt a plaintiff’s mentality. We can trace the origins of the movement as far back as the 1980s, when a financial crisis led Texas Instruments and IBM to turn to their legal departments for patent licensing revenue. These and similar efforts revealed that legal departments could do more than protect companies from risk. They could become strategic actors generating meaningful revenue.
With the Great Recession of 2008, companies came under great pressure to reduce costs, and legal departments were no longer immune. The field of “legal operations,” devoted to imposing discipline on the spending of corporate legal departments, was born. Corporate legal budgets now needed defending, and previously untouchable decisions came under scrutiny. In short, corporate legal departments began to be judged on business terms. Today, the timing is right for another leap in the adoption of affirmative recovery programs. The impediments to bringing affirmative claims have largely eroded, and the riddle of funding affirmative cases has been addressed by the use of litigation funding. And the thirst for revenue from corporate legal departments has not been this palpable since the Great Recession.
Editor’s Note: Please click this link to register to receive future chapters of A Good Offense. If you would like to schedule a time to speak with Therium US CEO, Eric Blinderman, about affirmative recovery programs or the monetisation of litigation assets, please reach us using the contact information included in this news release.
Therium is a leading global provider of litigation, arbitration and specialty legal finance active in England and Wales and internationally since 2009. Over that period, Therium has funded claims with a total value exceeding £34 billion including many of the largest and most high profile funded cases. The firm has investment teams in the UK, USA, Australia, Spain, Germany and Oslo, supplementing its resources in its corporate headquarters in Jersey, Channel Islands.
Therium has established a track record of success in litigation finance in all forms including single case litigation and arbitration funding, funding law firms and funding portfolios of litigation and arbitration claims. This track record enabled the firm to raise the then single largest investment into litigation finance of £200 million in 2015. Therium has raised over $1 billion since its foundation, which includes the latest £325 million fund raised in February 2019.
Therium has consistently been at the forefront of innovation in litigation finance, pioneering the combined use of insurance tools alongside funding vehicles, and introducing portfolio funding products into the UK. The firm’s ability to develop innovative funding arrangements and bespoke financial solutions for litigants and law firms complements its unmatched experience and rigorous approach to funding a wide range of commercial disputes throughout the world.