You know what’s cool? Apparently a billion dollars isn’t cool, according to Sean Parker, no matter what Justin Timberlake in The Social Network might have to say about it.Not a personal injury lawyer.

But what is cool is third-party litigation financing. Don’t believe me? Binyamin Appelbaum at the NYTimes and the Center for Public Integrity did a whole series on it called “Betting on Justice,” (here’s the same piece at the CPI) with a Room for Debate piece on it called “Investing in Someone Else’s Lawsuit.” The American Bar Association, nudged by the series, has set up a working group to examine the issue. There are now multimillion dollar racketeering / RICO Act lawsuits over it.

Like a hipster with horn-rimmed glasses and a bad haircut, I get to brag about being into alternative litigation financing (a more appropriate name than “third party” financing, for reasons explained at the seminar) before it was cool, since I was blogging about it more than a year before the “Betting on Justice” series, like in these posts:

I’m thus proud to be on the panel for the Third Party Litigation Funding CLE put on by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute:

How often do you or your firm turn away good cases because the client or you or your firm cannot shoulder the expenses incurred over the extended period of litigation? What if your firm could get assistance in meeting the astronomical expenses of pursuing a big case? What if there was a way your personal injury clients could get help to meet their living expenses while their cases are pending? 

Third party litigation funding is one of the biggest and most important trends in civil justice in the United States. It is changing not only how litigation and/or arbitration is funded, it is also altering the balance of power in deciding which cases can and should be litigated or arbitrated. From multimillion dollar complex commercial cases to individual personal injury cases, workers compensation matters and even in high stakes divorce cases, third party litigation funding is making an impact by enabling persons and businesses that would not otherwise be able, to proceed with their cases.

This program will explain the three types of litigation funding: Pre-settlement funding, case expense funding and commercial litigation funding. A panel of experienced practitioners and a law professor will examine these practices from practical, legal and most importantly ethical perspectives. The program will also explore the present and future implications of third party litigation funding on the practice of law.

4 substantive CLE credits, 2 which may be applied towards Ethics. Two upcoming seminars, one on March 29 in Philadelphia and one on April 7 in Mechanicsburg. It is my understanding that attorneys can get CLE credits in other states, but, sadly, it is only a live seminar, and there is no webinar or telecast. Maybe next time.

It will be a fun time, or at least as fun as a continuing legal education seminar can be, which is probably a lot less fun than sushi and drinks with Sean Parker or Justin Timberlake. Of particular note to personal injury attorneys (and anyone else on a contingent fee), my materials include a detailed spreadsheet which allows lawyers to calculate the comparative costs and profits of referring a case out, bringing on co-counsel, funding the case through cash or a normal line of credit, or obtaining a case expense loan. Other panelists’ materials including a plethora of case citations explaining what you can and can’t do in this field.