Aligning incentives with a more equal world

Aviva Will, Co-COO, Burford Capital

 IWD 2020

At Burford Capital, we bring the discipline and resources of capital markets to the $800 billion legal industry worldwide by providing capital to finance the high cost of large dollar complex litigation and arbitration in jurisdictions around the world. We also bring our rigor and our capital to bear in confronting the persistent gender pay gap in law. While there is no shortage of women attorneys around the world, women are underrepresented at the senior-most ranks of law firms, resulting in significant pay differentials. 

In response to this seemingly intractable problem, Burford Capital launched The Equity Project as an economic incentive for change.

The Equity Project is a $50 million capital pool earmarked for financing commercial litigation and arbitration matters led by women. This includes matters where a woman lawyer is first chair; serves as lead counsel; chairs the steering committee; earns the origination credit; is the client relationship manager; or a women-owned law firm is representing the client.

In the law firm context, career advancement and compensation are linked to one’s ability to originate new business. The Equity Project allows women to provide clients an alternative to the hourly billing model - which can be a competitive advantage when trying to win clients who prefer to work with firms that are willing to share risk or offer alternative funding arrangements.

To truly move the needle on equality, businesses must look closely at economic incentives and take new and creative approaches to aligning those incentives with a more equal world - #EachforEqual.


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