Burford hires Mick Smith to carry on European expansion
Mick Smith is an arbitration expert and legal finance veteran to join firm in London as principal.
Burford Capital, a London and New York-listed litigation funder, has hired Mick Smith, co-founder of Calunius Capital to expand its European propositioning.
Mr. Smith will join Burford as principal and will be based in the firm's London office. He will work there on expanding the firm's European business and global arbitration practice. Calunius capital was founded by Smith in 2006. He previously worked as an investment banker at JPMorgan Chase, Credit Agricole Lazard and Dresdner Kleinwort and practiced law at Freshfields Bruckhaus Beringer in London and Madrid.
Burford Capital, CEO, Christopher Bogart said that the company already has a $1.2 billion European portfolio and is the world's largest arbitral funder. They are excited about Smith's potential to grow those numbers more. Bogart further stated that he knew Smith for years long as a 'collaborator and friendly competitor.'
With his skillset including law and banking, Smith is able to work seamlessly between the investment and corporate sides of funding mandates. In addition giving him an intense appreciation of risk developed with Calunius co-founder Mark Wells and its chairman Leslie Perrin, who presently heads the International Legal Finance Association.
Burford Capital manager, John Lazar, added: "Mick will join our team of more than 40 employees in London, as well as those in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), as we continue to grow both in scope and geographically."
Calunius is currently running off to new cases since 2018, which has allowed Smith to explore his interest in data science, building on his undergraduate study of mathematics and law at Cambridge University.
He said that Calunius remained in run-off, with a few larger claims, including Trucks Cartel litigation and continuing Venezuelan-related arbitration, yet to be settled, but these did not prohibit him from joining Burford.
"Burford is the largest and most experienced [funder], which has the longest track record in arbitrations and extensive data," said Smith, adding that "it felt somewhat like home coming".
Calunius' ability to finance large claims and work with the biggest platform was a compelling attraction compared to Burford, Smith said, as was the chance to continue working on disputes data analytics and improve its function in the industry.
In addition, Smith said that the litigation funding market is "pretty healthy" and large funders that will raise more capital for litigation funding as courts gain more experience with funding. Thanks in part to recent UK jurisprudence from the Competition Appeal Tribunal.
Along with existing markets like Germany and the UK, there is also potential for corporate deals in continental Europe, including Spain, he further stated.