By Michael Blum, Esq.
As trial attorneys we know first-hand that lawsuits can be fraught with anxiety, emotional turmoil and financial strain. And drawn out appeals only compound the problems. It can be a difficult situation for attorneys and plaintiffs alike. After years of effort, not to mention the substantial amount of money invested, a case finally goes to trial. The plaintiff is awarded a sizable money judgment and the defendant promptly files an appeal. Perhaps they are testing financial resources or your client’s resolve and are hoping you will accept a settlement that is far less than deserved.
Whatever the reason, an appeal requires investing more time and putting more money at risk. It subjects the judgment to reversal or raises the possibility of a new trial. It could mean two years or more before the appeal is heard and a final decision is rendered. In the meantime, bills for the plaintiff and the contingency fee attorney continue to mount. Often, plaintiffs have exhausted their emotional and monetary resources during the trial phase. For contingency fee attorneys, an appeal may mean years before any revenue is realized. Loans may be impossible, and the financial strain and emotional stress caused by an appeal clearly can take its toll.
Fortunately, a money judgment on appeal is a valuable asset, which can be monetized to strengthen your financial position and reduce the burdens of a long appellate process and an uncertain result. Appeal funding provides plaintiffs and trial attorneys with immediate cash before an appellate decision is reached to help balance the scales of justice by leveling the playing field against a financially stronger opponent. It offers the added liquidity required to meet the financial demands faced by a deserving plaintiff and attorney, and it helps eliminate the financial pressure to accept an unfair offer. Importantly, it enables a plaintiff and an attorney to make decisions based solely on the merits of the case.
An appeal finance type investment provides immediate cash to use in any way you choose without repayment, if case is eventually lost. Since the transaction is a purchase of a minority portion of a money judgment, credit ratings are irrelevant; there is no interest charged; no monthly payments; no mortgage liens; no wages liens; or liens on your bank accounts. No legal advice is given and there is no interference in the attorney-plaintiff relationship.
Appellate funding is an investment where the attorney and client remain totally in charge. It provides the cash you deserve now, before the appellate decision is rendered, without the traditional “debt” you would incur with a loan. It transfers some of the risk of loss away from the plaintiff and attorney, and is repaid only if the case is ultimately won with funds collected from the defendant.
Michael Blum is a trial attorney and founder and CEO of Appeal Funding Partners, LLC. A pioneer in litigation funding, he has over 20 year experience providing risk mitigation services and non-recourse funding to attorneys and plaintiffs with money judgments on appeal. He has served on the Board of Directors of the Consumer Attorneys of California and of the Marin Trial Lawyers Association and regularly writes for TLA magazines on the financial management of a contingency-fee law firm.
The information in this article is provide for informational purposes only and with the understanding that the author is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting, tax or other professional advice or services.
© copyright 2013 Michael Blum
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