In 2017, litigator Curtis Smolar left a long career as a trial lawyer to become general counsel of Legalist, a litigation finance startup in San Francisco that uses algorithms to vet potential investments.
In the litigation funding world, Legalist is a disrupter. Founded by a pair of Harvard dropouts, the company emerged from the startup incubator Y Combinator, and its model employs legal analytics to identify potential investments. It also places smaller bets than the major players in litigation funding, capping investments at roughly $1 million and looking to back small businesses that might otherwise struggle to afford litigation.
In this podcast, Legal Speak host Vanessa Blum talks with Smolar about his transition from trying cases to vetting them, what he’s learned about litigation funding, and how he’s adjusted to startup life. Smolar explains the role of technology in Legalist’s due diligence and where human expertise comes in.