Jane specialises in complex banking, contract, tort and shareholder disputes. Chambers and Partners ranks her in its global asset tracing litigation chapter, describing her as “bright, effective and very high-profile in the market”. Jane is listed in the top tiers of The Legal 500 2019 (which calls her “extraordinarily strategic” and recommends her for “her expertise”) and Chambers 2019 (“‘The best civil fraud litigator I know” is how one source describes Jane and “tactically shrewd with an incredible intellect – she is a real class act”).
Who inspired you to pursue a legal career?
My grandmother, Midge, who was hugely energetic, rarely fazed by life’s challenges (and she lived in London through two World Wars), fiercely independent and flexible in her thinking (no doubt, helped by all the huge developments she had seen in her lifetime). Midge was a super role model as to how to live well. She lived until she was over 102 attributing her longevity to laughing a lot. I attribute it in part to that but also to her “can do” spirit and her curiosity about life.
As asset recovery becomes more cross-border and global in nature, what are the main qualities lawyers in this field need to possess?
I would say the traits needed to be a good and effective fraud litigator and asset recovery lawyer include, of course, being technically accomplished but also agile and creative in your thinking, and expert in using innovative technology, ie, always skilling up. Dealing with high pressure, communicating concisely, typing fast and coping with not much sleep also come in handy.
How is third-party funding influencing the asset recovery market?
Third-party funding is just one way in which litigation is becoming an investable asset. Funders are becoming more active in this space, which provides claimants with the financing required to see a claim through to the end result. Funders are laser-focused on the creditworthiness and assets of a defendant when considering whether to fund a claim. Freezing and disclosure orders, pre and post-judgment, plainly give visibility in this regard. Investors are also interested in the ability to purchase arbitration awards and judgments (even though there may be some risk around challenge or appeal). In this scenario, the third-party funder is paying an upfront price factoring in risk of recovery and delay.
To what extent is technology revolutionising the way in which investigations are conducted and what challenges does this pose for lawyers in the field?
As well as funding of litigation, LegalTech is also now attracting funding from a variety of sources. The Times reported in October 2019 that investment in UK legal tech start-up businesses has increased threefold to £61 million in the last year. Thomson Reuters also recently reported that the huge explosion of technology into the legal sector in the UK has arisen because of the number of law firms which are incubating programmes. “Justice UK” is a top “brand”, but it is sometimes regarded as too expensive. It was recently reported, for example, that GCs and claimants were reducing legal spend and abandoning claims due to costs. The availability of third-party funding, and the usage and uptake of machine learning/technology-assisted review (TAR), respond to such business needs. Brown Rudnick’s litigators are “sold” on TAR’s use and we have our own TAR capability in-house. Given the explosion in available data that may need to be reviewed for any number of purposes (for example, fraud/regulatory investigations, search orders, litigation whether here or elsewhere) we deploy our TAR system to deal cost-effectively with both relatively “low” amounts of data as well as very large data sets. This offers clients significant time and cost savings versus a traditional “human only” review model. While usage of TAR systems is spreading and becoming more commonplace, this can only be aided by a growing number of courts in certain jurisdictions that have expressly approved the use of such technology. At the start of this year, the High Courts in England and Wales “called litigators to arms” pressing on them the need in complex disputes to embrace change and machine learning technology/TAR. I welcome the reboot. Change keeps the profession an interesting and challenging one to be in.
You have enjoyed a very distinguished career so far. What would you like to achieve that you have not yet accomplished?
To dismantle frontiers and help promote equity and inclusion at all levels within the profession. Since December 2016, Brown Rudnick has been hosting in its London office a Women in Business Series where we have asked inspirational women speakers from various areas of business to speak about their careers. The events are designed to promote diversity and in doing so, break down barriers and open the legal profession to more women. We have had the pleasure of being joined by some excellent speakers since the series began, including: Amber Rudd, while she was home secretary; Cressida Dick, the Metropolitan Police commissioner; Cath Kidston, MBE, an English fashion designer; and The Rt Hon Dame Elizabeth Gloster. We already have more inspirational speakers lined up for the rest of 2019 and 2020. The firm also runs a social mobility diversity fellowship aimed at first-year law students who are the first members of their families to graduate from college. I wholly support all the firm does to ensure diversity. It makes it a rich place to work.
The “excellent” Jane Colston is one of the titans of the asset recovery market. Peers impart that she is “an outstanding lawyer, and an absolute nightmare to be against” on a case.
Jane Colston specialises in complex banking, contract, tort and shareholder disputes.
She is named in The Legal 500 2018 as a “leading individual” in civil fraud, “Key partner Jane Colston is ‘a dynamic and creative practitioner’ who ‘brings a fabulous intellect, credibility and command of law along with incredible strategic thinking and client-facing skills’.”
Jane is ranked by Chambers and Partners 2018 in Band 1 for civil fraud and has been described as “very tenacious, imaginative and fights very hard for her clients. Clients appreciate “her no-nonsense attitude, and the way she gets to the heart of issues and helps us navigate through it in a straightforward, commercial and pragmatic way.” Chambers also states Jane has an “excellent reputation in the civil fraud arena”; is “praised by impressed sources as “efficient, hands-on and client-friendly”, who go on to cite her and ability to staff work in a “lean and efficient manner””; “sources describe her as “focal and effective” and that Jane “is hailed as a prominent figure in the market. She has experience in forensic investigations and multi-jurisdictional asset tracing”.
Jane is named in the Who's Who Legal: Asset Recovery 2018 analysis as one of the “thought leaders 2018” which comprise of just the top two per cent of all the eminent practitioners listed across WWL's guide.
She was recognised as Asset Recovery Lawyer of the Year 2017 by Lawyer Monthly Women in Law Awards and is part of the team which won The Legal 500's award for Firm Specialist of the Year 2018 for fraud: civil.
Jane frequently lectures at international conferences, eg, the IBA and C5.
Jane Colston enjoys a stellar international reputation for her world-class work on high-value banking and finance, and corporate disputes.
Jane Colston specialises in complex banking, contract, tort and shareholder disputes.
The Legal 500 (2019) names her as a “leading individual” in civil fraud and banking litigation, describing her as “fierce, super-efficient, indefatigable and a winner” and "to-the-point, calm, and aggressive when needed”, with “very good knowledge of the case she is in charge of – she makes clients feel safe". She is also named in the commercial litigation rankings as "everybody’s favourite litigator owing to her genuine care and loyalty".
Chambers UK (2019) ranks Jane in the top tier for civil fraud, naming her “one of the country's leading fraud lawyers”, and describing her as “tactically shrewd with an incredible intellect” and “a real class act." Jane is also commended in Chambers Global as "bright, effective and very high-profile in the market”, and “especially respected for her ability to couple civil fraud cases with the recovery of misappropriated assets".
Jane has also received listing in WWL’s Thought Leaders Global Elite guide (2019), which comprises the top 2 per cent of all eminent practitioners listed across all of WWL’s guides.
Jane is part of the litigation team in London that in 2018 and 2019 won The Legal 500 Award for Firm (specialism) of the year in the crime, fraud and licensing category, given in recognition of Brown Rudnick’s skills in litigation fraud.
Jane frequently lectures at international conferences, including those held by the IBA and C5. She is co-editor of the IBA litigation newsletter; a committee member of the Commercial Fraud Lawyers Association; and a trustee of the International Law Book Facility, a law charity.