New Disbursement Funding Options in the Modern Era of Contingency Fee Legal Practices
“Our law firm clients rely on us to fund disbursements which individually are not significant expenses, ranging from hundreds of dollars for court fees to several thousand dollars for expert reports,” Stephen explains. Pauwels, co-founder and director of BridgePoint. “But through a company’s file inventory, they can easily add up to millions of dollars for the company to carry at any given time, while on average waiting years for their fees to be settled. . “
BridgePoint has created financing solutions specifically designed for litigators, such as its popular Access to Experts program, which connects litigators with more than 500 experts with whom they have partnered in various fields and disciplines across Canada. It is fed by a search portal that Pauwels describes as a “matchmaker” connecting lawyers and experts. BridgePoint then funds the expert’s report in advance and does not invoice the company until payment is made.
A key benefit for lawyers is that Expert Access comes with a two-year interest-free agreement. For cases resolved within this period, access to an expert is free for the firm.
They also created a disbursement microfinance program called File Funder, which allows companies to finance or be reimbursed for disbursements incurred at their discretion. Unlike bank financing, explains Pauwels, the file financier is tied directly to the underlying files, with repayments tied to specific settlements, more in line with the company’s cash flows than bank debt with monthly maturities. .
“I was a BridgePoint client before joining the team,” says Amanda Bafaro, Chief Risk Officer and General Counsel at BridgePoint and former personal injury lawyer. “I can say that not all lenders in this space are created the same. Bridgepoint was a cut above anyone else in the business when I was using them and I have certainly found that to be true since coming here. When we talk about responsible lending and taking a client’s needs seriously, it’s not just words, it’s part of our philosophy.