In courtrooms across America, investors are making money through litigation financing. The process allows investors to cover the cost of a lawsuit in exchange for a share of the financial settlement.
If this process sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because it’s similar to what billionaire Peter Thiel did when he secretly funded a lawsuit from Hulk Hogan against Gawker Media. It’s still unclear whether Thiel benefited financially from $140 million judgement against Gawker, but the impact of his attack is evident.
Now, a new startup wants to get more people in on the action. Two Harvard undergraduates have created a service called Legalist that uses what they call “data-backed litigation financing,” analyzing civil lawsuits with an algorithm to predict case outcomes and determine which civil lawsuits are worth investing in.