We asked, “What constitutes a ‘just’ society and civil justice system?”
Trial lawyers dedicate their careers to ensuring Americans have access to justice and the opportunity to stand up to those who hurt or wrong them — regardless of whether the negligent party is an individual person or a major corporation. But what happens when the plaintiff exhausts all of his or her funds during litigation and needs financial help to make ends meet? Settlement might still be months or even years away. It makes sense to assume the funding companies who help them would act justly, knowing these plaintiffs are enduring what is likely the most difficult time in their lives.
Unfortunately, that’s not often the case. We have found that the interest or contractual finances many for-profit funding companies charge plaintiffs range from 28% to 200%. For many plaintiffs, the amount they’ll owe their lenders will exceed the amount they get from their case. That’s not just.
Tragically, little has been done over the years to change the course of the industry. We established the Bairs Foundation, a nonprofit organization that provides the financial assistance families need during litigation. We offer non-recourse advances at 7% simple interest in the name of the Seventh Amendment.
What is Just?
The Bairs Foundation started the “What is Just” campaign to provide the community and trial bar with examples of good work and fair results. In the spirit of our mission to provide families with access to capital at a fair interest rate, the foundation is looking to provide leadership to the litigation finance industry and within various trial lawyer organizations. We intend to join the American Legal Funding Association (ALFA), a group dedicated to ensuring fair, ethical and transparent funding standards within the legal funding industry. We also participated in the Impact Fund’s national conference on justice, and we have approached various state legislators about amendments to existing bills.
Our foundation is also motivating other nonprofit organizations to replicate what we’re doing, because we know it’s a fair and sustainable model.
Please visit bairsfoundation.org to find out how you can help our mission to bring more justice to the non-recourse lending industry.
A West Point graduate where he served as captain and military aviator, John Bair continues his commitment to our country through his efforts within the settlement planning industry. He has represented families of victims lost in the Flight 3407 crash, offered pro bono services to the families of 9/11 victims and drafted the first consumer protection bill for plaintiffs (H.R. 3699).