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Home Archive Volume 64 Volume 64, Issue 2 COMMENT: Litigation Finance in the Public Interest
COMMENT: Litigation Finance in the Public Interest

By Jason M. Wilson | 64 Am. U. L. Rev. 385 (2014)

In the United States, public interest organizations play a vital role in promoting access to justice and private enforcement of the law. Nevertheless, these organizations face considerable financial constraints in litigating for their causes. While the non-profit sector and private bar provide commendable support through grants and pro bono assistance, this Comment suggests that this financing model does not adequately meet the needs of organizations that undertake expensive litigation efforts on behalf of their clients. In an effort to alleviate this burden, this Comment puts forth an alternative model of funding public interest litigation by merging social entrepreneurship with the newly revitalized practice of litigation finance. Specifically, it proposes that a litigation financing firm organize as a benefit corporation to provide funding for public interest litigation in exchange for a share of any monetary relief generated. This arrangement has the potential to pair a growing community of investors interested in making a social impact with plaintiffs of worthwhile causes, and in the process, ensure greater access to justice and private enforcement of the law. Additionally, it may invigorate a growing litigation finance sector to fund cases that it has thus far chosen not to support.

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