Jaemin Chang, who had been a litigator and transactional lawyer at Fox Rothschild LLP since 2013, and Anand Upadhye, vice president for business development at legal research software company Casetext, were both hired at Legalist, the firm announced last week.
Chang and Upadhye follow an impressive group of past litigators who have all joined the technology-based finance firm since its founding in 2016, including Legalist's general counsel Curtis Smolar who was also a former partner at Fox Rothschild.
"As Legalist expands our mission to help small businesses pay for expensive legal proceedings, we continue to add talented individuals to help us grow," Legalist CEO and co-founder Eva Shang said in a statement. "Both Jaemin and Anand are attorneys who bring significant experience as talented litigators, and we are excited to have them as part of the team."
The startup, which uses proprietary machine learning algorithms to assess investment opportunities and help small businesses pay for lawsuits, has been making waves since its founding. In March, Legalist announced it raised $50 million for its first bankruptcy fund, called Legalist DIP Fund I. The firm also tapped Nathan Jones, former chief investment strategist for United States Debt Recovery LLC, to head its new bankruptcy team.
At Casetext, Upadhye helped the company market its legal research AI-powered tool and closed some of the company's earliest deals and partnerships. He has now stepped into a new role at Legalist as the director of investment.
Upadhye said his new role involves working with attorneys and plaintiffs to discuss and negotiate what investments in particular litigation could look like and how it might be structured. He said he was really drawn to Legalist's mission, and also its startup feel.
"The legalist mission of evaluating meritorious claims, and funding those claims is societally important," he said. "Also important is the fact that they are a hyper growth start.up, and that is the environment that I'm coming from with Casetax. I fit very well in that environment, and I'm really looking forward to contributing to the rapid growth of an already fast expanding company."
At the start of his career, Upadhye was an assistant district attorney for the San Francisco District Attorney's office. He also worked as an associate at Schnader Harrison Segal
& Lewis LLP and Berding & Weil LLP, practicing mostly commercial and real estate litigation.
He graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law in 2009 and gained his undergraduate degree from UC Berkeley in 2003.
Chang said that after having been with Fox & Rothschild for over eight years, it was a difficult choice to leave, especially leaving behind several mentors and "champions" at the firm who helped her "climb the corporate ladder," she said. However, working at Legalist gave Chang the chance to meld the business acumen she gained earning her MBA at the University of San Francisco with her experience with litigation.
"This opportunity came about and I jumped at it because it was a chance to apply all of the things I have learned over time, working for different clients across different industries, including finance," she said. "And it was an opportunity to really use my MBA as well as my JD."
In part, Chang said, she was familiar with Legalist's work through the clients she was representing. She also has known Legalist's general counsel Smolar since she graduated from law school, she said.
Chang gained her law degree from the University of San Francisco School of Law.
--Additional reporting by Steven Lerner. Editing by Amy Rowe.