Litigation funder Burford ramps up UK team with Freeth Cartwright hire

US litigation funder Burford Capital has continued its march into the UK market with three senior hires.

The $300m investment fund has bolstered its after the event (ATE) insurance arm FirstAssist Legal Expenses which it recently acquired to create a platform for litigation financing.

Mark Thomson has joined as litigation funding manager from Freeth Cartwright, where he was a commercial dispute resolution partner. He specialises in commercial litigation, professional negligence and insurance work.

Mike Payne joins as head of operational underwriting and litigator Louise Smith has been recruited as product development manager.

Third party funding is proving an attractive option for some claimants seeking alternative sources of financing litigation, and several groups have ramped up their capital (3 September 2012).

Burford said FirstAssist’s contribution has already delivered $3.7m in profit in the first four months.

FirstAssist managing director Peter Smith said in a statement: “The UK litigation landscape is changing fast but there is no doubt that the need for greater certainty on costs is here to stay. The demand for a one-stop shop to assist with all aspects of legal expenses insurance and funding is greater than ever and we look forward to helping solicitors and their clients in these exciting and challenging times.”