Law Finance Group CEO, Alan L. Zimmerman’s Paper Describing the Development of Litigation Funding to be Published by NYU Journal of Law & Business


Alan L. Zimmerman
Principal Author

Fiona McKenna, Daniel J. Bush, Cheryl Kaufman

Read below for an introduction to the article, as well as a link to the full piece.


Economic historians have said that “America is the Canaan of capitalism, its promised
land” where the tendencies of western capitalism could find fullest expression, William N. Parker, Historiography of American Economic History. One essential requirement for the continued success of American capitalism is a civil justice system that provides a fair and trusted forum for all parties seeking timely redress of economic disputes.

Beginning in kindergarten, American children start each day with a Pledge of Allegiance, ending with the words “with liberty and justice for all.” The current economic reality is that civil justice has become a “pay to play” process in America. With few exceptions, it does not function fairly or effectively unless each side of a dispute has enough capital to pay the very substantial cost of full participation.

The U.S. is experiencing a high degree of wealth and resource inequality among it’s
citizens.  There can be no “justice for all” unless each side of an economic dispute can aggregate the capital needed to “play.” It is not surprising that those with the greatest concentration of wealth experience discomfort when natural economic forces generate funding solutions for their less affluent, potential adversaries enabling them equal access to the field of “play.”

This paper views civil litigation initiated by a party seeking money damages through the
lens of the underlying economics that impact the civil justice system’s ability to achieve fair
outcomes. It examines how access to capital has impacted the functioning of civil justice in the
United States.

Participation and success in any endeavor seeking profit or economic gain in the American
capitalist system requires a sufficient supply of the three basic economic elements: property, labor, and capital.2 The evolution of each of these elements as applied to civil litigation and the parties and lawyers seeking gain or profit has brought us to the current state of justice in America. Just as horses and buggy whips have given way to engines and motors as major economic drivers, vast developments in our capitalistic society have served as catalysts for change in the U.S. common law legal system and reshaped the nature and interplay of the required resources of property, labor, and capital within that system.

The paper will demonstrate that non-party litigation funding is a natural and healthy
capitalistic response to the changes that have occurred in the economy and in civil justice. We
examine the historical development of the three economic elements, property, labor and capital, in the context of one economic endeavor, a lawsuit in which at least one party – and all of the lawyers – seek economic gain as the objective, and how the developments have increased the need for capital investment.

Read Full Article

Copyright © 2015 by Alan L. Zimmerman
Forthcoming in the NYU Journal of Law & Business Special Issue 2016

By selecting this link, you will be leaving the Law Finance Group (“LFG”) website and entering a website hosted by an unaffiliated third-party. Although LFG believes that this is a reliable site, LFG has not independently reviewed or verified this third-party’s website privacy and security policies, which may differ from LFG’s.  Accordingly, please be advised that once you have left the LFG website, you will no longer be subject to, or under the protection of, the privacy and security policies of LFG. We encourage you to read and evaluate the privacy and security policies on the site you are entering, which may be different from those of LFG.  Please be advised that Law Finance Group is not responsible for and does not endorse, guarantee or monitor content, availability, viewpoints, products or services that are offered or expressed on any unaffiliated third-party websites.

OK Cancel