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Abstract

Stephen Yeazell has long recognized that changes to case capitalization affect the nature and intensity of civil litigation. So too, writing back in 2001, Yeazell identified the next wave of capital with the capacity to alter the American litigation landscape: third-party litigation finance. In the ensuing decade, that industry, and specifically what I call the “lawyer lending” industry—comprised of lenders who extend capital to plaintiffs’ lawyers to finance personal injury litigation—has blossomed. Today, firms like Advocate Capital and Counsel Financial channel tens of millions of dollars to plaintiffs’ personal injury lawyers each year and seem poised for further expansion. Picking up where Yeazell left off, this Essay asks: How might the arrival of lawyer lending transform the capitalization, organization, and sophistication of plaintiff-side practice? And how might changes to plaintiff-side practice affect the quantum and character of personal injury litigation in the United States?

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