Legalist continues to bulk up team, adding Fox Rothschild, Casetext alums

Technology-powered litigation funder Legalist has once again tapped former litigators to grow its team.

Sara Merken
6/11/2021
Original Article

San Francisco-based Legalist has added Fox Rothschild partner Jaemin Chang as assistant general counsel and Anand Upadhye, vice president for business development at legal research software company Casetext, as director of investments, the litigation finance startup said in a statement.

"We are building out our senior leadership team because our business is expanding," Eva Shang, Legalist co-founder and CEO, said in an email Friday. "We've seen a lot of demand from both investors and attorneys for our target market -- midsized commercial cases," she said.

Harvard dropouts Shang and co-founder Christian Haigh launched Legalist in 2016. The company differentiates its approach from other funders by using technology to scrape data from court records to source and underwrite investments. Legalist says it has funded over 200 investments.

In addition to financing commercial cases, the company in March raised $50 million for a bankruptcy fund, expanding into the bankruptcy sector for the first time with a similar focus on small and middle-market businesses.

Since its founding, Legalist has expanded its investment team with former litigators from several firms, including Duane Morris and Dinsmore & Shohl. Legalist's general counsel Curtis Smolar is a long-time trial lawyer who joined the funder in 2017.

Chang, the recruit from Fox Rothschild, practiced at the firm for more than eight years, representing corporate and individual clients in various types of business disputes, Legalist said. Chang, in a statement, said she is "thrilled to join Legalist at this pivotal moment in litigation funding."

Upadhye, Casetext's business development lead, was previously a litigation associate at law firms Schnader Harrison Segal & Lewis and Berding & Weil. He called the company's vision "inspiring."

Representatives for Fox Rothschild and Casetext didn't immediately respond to requests for comment on their departures.

An increasing number of players have moved into third-party commercial litigation finance as the industry matures. While funders tout inroads in the U.S. legal market with more companies and firms turning to legal finance, efforts continue by some, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, for more transparency in the litigation finance industry.