Most Australian lawyers say legal finance is an essential new business tool

Australian lawyers are the most likely to say legal finance is growing and gaining importance

Most Australian lawyers say legal finance is an essential new business tool

Most lawyers in Australia think that legal finance is an essential new business tool for law firms, a new study has revealed.

Burford Capital’s 2018 Litigation Finance Survey said that 76% of Australian respondents had this opinion on legal finance. They were also the most likely, at 83%, to say that legal finance is a growing and increasingly important area in legal business, compared to 78% in the UK and 73% in the US.

Despite the high opinion about legal finance, the survey also found that just 41% of Australian respondents say that they are very familiar with the tool, which is lower than the 53% and 51% in the US and the UK that said the same.

Overall, use of legal finance has had a stellar rise since 2012. From under 10% that year, use of the tool rose to 70% among respondents this year, which is a more than 600% increase.

In Australia, 28% of respondents said that their firm’s use of legal finance increased, while 70% said that it stayed the same. That’s lower than the 58% of overall respondents that said their firm’s use of legal finance increased in the last two years.

Among respondents in private practice, 67% said their firms increased their use of legal finance over the last two years, while 32% said the level remained the same. Among in-house team members, 45% said use increased, while 53% said use remained the same.

The survey gathered responses from 495 participants in the US, UK, and Australia, with 318 working in law firms and 177 working in in-house teams.

Law firm respondents, 26% of whom were managing partners or partners, came from firms with a mean size of 258 lawyers. In-house respondents, 70% of whom were general counsel, chief legal officers, or deputy or assistant general counsel, came from companies with a mean annual revenue of US$1.28bn.

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