"Public Power, Private Gain: Issues in Third-Party Litigation Finance"

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March 25, 2019

In a blog post, Erin Hawley of the Independent Women’s Forum walked through the “troubling” development of the Washington, D.C. attorney general authorizing a private lawyer to use third party litigation funding to sue energy companies over fossil fuels.

Hawley said the attorney general “farming out big cases” to private lawyers “is concerning enough,” but authorizing the use of third party litigation funding could “create conflicts of interest.” She said lawyers who use litigation funding “have two concerned parties: their clients, to whom they owe a duty of zealous and diligent representation, and their investors, who are footing the bill.” In cases when lawyers are representing the government, the interests “may not fully align.”

Hawley said D.C. should “require that any lawyer or law firm they work with is careful to avoid conflict of interests,” particularly when third party funding is involved.