Former commercial litigator and Supreme Court clerk William C. Marra joins in New York, as Validity also retains former federal judge John Gleeson, now with Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, to advise on investment opportunities, and welcomes former Proskauer Chair Allen Fagin to its board.
NEW YORK (January 29, 2019) – Litigation funder Validity Finance has made a notable addition to its growing investment team with the arrival of portfolio counsel William C. Marra in New York. The firm also announced a prominent addition to its governance structure, with Allen Fagin, formerly chair of Proskauer Rose LLP, joining Validity’s board of directors. Finally, Validity has retained former New York federal Judge John Gleeson, a partner at Debevoise & Plimpton LLP in New York, as outside counsel to advise on investment opportunities.
Launched last June with an initial $250 million in committed capital, Validity has built a substantial portfolio of investments in commercial disputes, partnering with business claimants as well as major law firms in helping finance and monetize their litigation matters.
“As we continue to ramp up our business and scale our portfolio, we’re pleased to announce an outstanding new member of our professional team and welcome a distinguished name to our board and a distinguished adviser to our investment committee,” said Validity CEO Ralph Sutton.
William Marra joins Validity from noted Washington, D.C. litigation boutique Cooper & Kirk, following judicial clerkships for Justice Samuel Alito of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge William Pryor of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. With a background litigating complex commercial, regulatory, and constitutional cases, Mr. Marra will help Validity review potential portfolio investments and advise clients and law firms on cases where funding may help ensure fair resolution. He received his J.D., magna cum laude, from Harvard Law School, where he was Articles Editor of the Harvard Journal of Law & Public Policy.
“Will’s combination of high-stakes trial practice and experience advising on judicial opinions at the highest levels of the law is a decided advantage in helping our clients crack their toughest legal challenges with funding and strategic advice,” said Julia Gewolb, Validity’s Director of Underwriting. Marra is the fourth Validity staffer to have served as a federal clerk and adds to the firm’s roster of former practicing trial lawyers which include former litigators from Kirkland & Ellis, Boies Schiller Flexner and Gibson Dunn, among other firms.
Judge John Gleeson will advise Validity in its consideration of investment opportunities. A partner at Debevoise and a former litigator with Cravath, Swaine & Moore, Mr. Gleeson served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, before being appointed a judge on the Eastern District by President Clinton in 1994. Stepping down from the bench in 2016, Mr. Gleeson continues to work on major trial and appellate matters, both civil and criminal, as a litigation partner at Debevoise.
“With over 22 years’ experience on the federal bench, Judge Gleeson’s perspective on trial strategy and mechanics is unparalleled. In advising Validity, he will bring this wealth of experience to enhance our investment decisions,” Mr. Sutton commented.
Allen Fagin joins Validity’s eight-member Board of Directors. One of the country’s leading labor and employment litigators, Allen represented a broad range of companies and organizations in workplace related matters. In 2005, Allen was elected Chair of Proskauer Rose, a position that he held for six years. Following his retirement from Proskauer, Mr. Fagin has served as Executive Vice President of the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.
“It’s an honor to have Allen Fagin take a seat on our board – his insights as a lawyer and his experience overseeing one of the country’s preeminent law firms, would be welcome enough,” Mr. Sutton said “but Allen also has a strong social conscience and ethical fabric, and we welcome his contributions advancing best practices in dispute funding.”
Mr. Sutton said he expects Validity to introduce some new funding models in the coming year, including novel financing arrangements for law firms to undertake high-risk cases as well as initiatives for greater funding of defense-related matters.
About Validity: Validity provides businesses, law firms and individuals with non-recourse funding for a wide variety of commercial litigation. Founded by litigation finance pioneer Ralph Sutton, Validity believes that capital and legal expertise combine to help solve legal problems on behalf of clients. With a mission to make a meaningful difference in the legal system by focusing on client needs, Validity stands out with a relentless focus on fairness, innovation and clarity.