Mr Blinderman is the CEO of Therium Capital Management (USA). He launched Therium’s US operations in 2016 and has overseen its growth and development. Globally, Therium has invested in disputes valued at over $36 billion. Prior to joining Therium, Eric served as international litigation counsel at Proskauer; associate general counsel of the Coalition Provisional Authority; and chief legal counsel, and associate deputy, to the Regime Crimes Liaison’s Office in Baghdad, Iraq.
What do you enjoy most about your role as chief executive officer for Therium?
The most enjoyable part of my job is working with clients who have been wronged and equipping these clients with the financial resources needed to right the injustice that prompted them to seek funding.
What are the main reasons clients seek out litigation funding?
Clients seek funding for a variety of reasons. Larger businesses may seek funding because they do not want to divert core capital to a litigation that may have a life cycle of several years before providing a return. In addition, businesses are able to take advantage of the off-balance sheet nature of our funding products. Smaller enterprises may seek funding because they simply lack the financial resources to prosecute a matter. And business of all sizes may want to share litigation risk and free up capital for other uses such as hiring, expansion, research and development, or to meet the normal costs of business operations.
How does your background in the legal industry enhance the approach you bring to your current role?
I hope my background provides me with some perspective. Perspective and the ability to place oneself in your client’s shoes is important so that financing structures can be created that bridge the gap between Therium’s needs and the short, medium and long-term needs of our clients. Litigation funding, when done right, is a financial partnership for the long term. Good partners need to understand each other.
What are the biggest challenges facing the third-party litigation funding market at present?
At present, the impact of covid-19 is causing a deluge of third-party litigation funding requests. Recognising and responding to the financial stresses businesses face because of these unprecedent times while managing the demand for our services can sometimes be challenging. Fortunately, Therium’s global framework and the expertise of its investment officers and other professionals allows us to more than meet the moment.
To what extent is external regulation of third party-funding necessary? To what extent might it hinder the process?
It is a mistake to think that regulation is not already occurring. State courts and the federal judiciary have their own regulatory framework, and this is supplemented by the decisional authority and common law precedents in those jurisdictions. Judges are well equipped to use those tools and manage the cases before them. To the extent that additional regulation is imposed, it could have a chilling effect on plaintiffs who might not have access to the courtroom doors. In short, access to justice should apply equally to all and result in disputes decided on their merits and without regard to a litigant’s financial resources. Regulations that run counter to this goal could negatively impact both the funding industry and (more importantly) the integrity of our judicial system.
What factor does legal professional privilege and confidentiality play when lawyers, clients and funders are discussing the potential of third-party funding for a case?
Third-party funders such as Therium take great care to protect any and all confidential information, and to ensure that appropriate legal privileges and protections are maintained. Thus, Therium makes sure to enter into NDAs with relevant common-interest protections whenever it begins to analyse a case, and to memorialise and honour those protections throughout the investment life cycle of that case. Any steps to the contrary could be very detrimental to Therium and its clients – particularly given the wide-ranging nature of the US discovery rules, which incentivises defendants to seek this information regardless of relevance and to expend resources in ways that engender delay in the resolution of a dispute on the merits.
As CEO, what are your main priorities for Therium’s development over the next year or so?
My main priorities over the coming year are to navigate Therium through the current pandemic while ensuring that members of the Therium team remain healthy and safe, and that existing and new clients are properly served. All the rest are details.
What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?
At some point, I would like to more aggressively expand Therium’s pro bono presence in the USA, in accordance with our global CEO’s commitment to such endeavours through our firm’s creation of Therium Access. In short, Therium Access is a funding vehicle for non-commercial matters that have a high social-impact value, but which might not otherwise get filed absent an external capital source. We will be working hard to accomplish the laudable goal of expanding this truly important vehicle to the USA.