Litigation funder Harbour has launched a training contract after it received authorisation from the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) to hire trainees.

The funder will hire one trainee in September to undertake a two-year programme, like contracts offered in private practice. Harbour Litigation Funding launched the contract as it wanted to retain a paralegal, who was planning on undertaking a training contract at a law firm.

The funder sought advice from the SRA and became a training provider. After completing the contract, Diogo Gouveia became the first trainee at Harbour. It is believed this is the first training contract to be offered by a litigation funder.

He has since completed his training and is working as an associate in the team. He said: “The Harbour training contract thrusts you into the heart of the Harbour business, drafting settlement deeds, share purchase deeds and board resolutions on the corporate side, investment agreements and deeds of priority on the commercial side, and analysing potential claims under both a commercial and a legal lens.

“Working in a smaller institution where everyone helps each other out and where your own abilities can and will be relied on by others gives you a genuine sense of contribution to the overall business.”

Future trainees at the litigation funder will undertake four seats of six months across different the teams, including a secondment to a law firm with which Harbour has a relationship, which for Gouveia was Mishcon de Reya.

The other seats will take place within the company, and trainees will be involved in operational work, commercial relationships, negotiating agreement and fundraising.

Senior director of litigation funding and training principal Mark King said: “We would want to know what a trainee’s preference is and they would get exposure into all the core areas of the business, with the hope that on completion a trainee would join the investments team as a full-time member of staff.

“It is a bespoke training contract with a strong commercial emphasis for lawyers who want to be a valuable part of decision making within the Harbour business which is at the forefront of a thriving market.”

King said that he is looking to hire a recent graduate who is keen to take on more responsibility at the early stage of their career. Trainees would work closely with the investments team who all have a legal background.

For the moment, Harbour is offering one training contract but King hopes that as the company grows so will the number of training contracts on offer. Trainees will be paid a competitive London salary.


Harbour Litigation Funder was set up in 2007 by Martin Tonnby and Susan Dunn, who managed IM Litigation Funding.

In 2010, The Lawyer reported that the funder had raised £60m to invest in commercial litigation cases valued above £3m. In 2018, the funder launched Harbour Fund IV with £350m of additional capital.

Harbour is active across 14 jurisdictions, with Ellora MacPherson managing the portfolio. She is responsible for the management of Harbour’s investment and origination.

In 2016, Harbour was denied permission to fund a major case against the Irish State and Tony Boyle, a prominent businessman in the ‘champerty’ row.

The current Harbour team is made up of former lawyers from Mayer Brown, Fladgate, Allen & Overy, Volterra Fietta, Irwin Mitchell, Shoosmiths, Slaughter and May, Herbert Smith Freehills, Travers Smith, Addleshaw Goddard and Olswang (now CMS Cameron McKenna Nabarro Olswang).