Meet Zia Oatley

Former Gibson Dunn litigator Zia Oatley joins Legalist as investment counsel.

September 26, 2019

SAN FRANCISCO, CA —Legalist (, a technology-enabled litigation finance firm, has announced the addition of Zia Oatley, former litigator at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and Kean Miller LLP, as Investment Counsel. With over 10 years of experience in the legal industry, she will join Curtis Smolar, former partner at Fox Rothschild LLP and Legalist General Counsel, and the rest of Legalist’s San Francisco-based team in the deployment of Legalist Fund II.

Started in 2016 by two Harvard drop-outs and advised by former US Court of Appeals judge Richard A. Posner, Legalist invests in commercial litigation by using algorithms that scrape federal and state court records to source and help underwrite investments. Unlike traditional litigation funders, Legalist exclusively focuses on mid-market cases that require less than $1 million in funding. Legalist raised $100 million for Fund II in 2019.

“We are excited to welcome Zia Oatley, our latest Investment Counsel, who has extensive litigation experience,” said Legalist CEO and co-founder Eva Shang. “Legalist’s unique combination of technology and human expertise is what allows us to underwrite David vs. Goliath cases quickly and effectively.”

With roots in North Carolina, Mrs. Oatley received a J.D. and Master’s Degree in Public Policy from Duke University. After law school, she clerked for the Honorable Gregory W. Carman in the U.S. Court of International Trade. As a litigator, she worked in environmental and commercial litigation at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP in Washington D.C. for 6 years, before joining New Orleans-based Kean Miller LLP until 2019.

“Legalist is unique in the litigation funding industry for its combination of technology and expertise in the underwriting process,” said Mrs. Oatley about her new position. “As a litigator, it’s a rare opportunity to work on such a multi-disciplinary team with an important access-to-justice mission.”

About Legalist

Legalist is an algorithmic litigation finance firm that helps small businesses pay for their lawsuits. Founded in San Francisco, Legalist uses machine learning and AI technology to source and underwrite litigation investments. The company manages assets over $110 million and has been featured in the New Yorker, the Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, and more.