University of Iowa

Chicago investment firm wins big bankrolling other people's lawsuits

Chicago investment firm wins big bankrolling other people's lawsuits

When Chicago investment firm Gerchen Keller Capital launched in 2013, it carved out an unusual and controversial niche — bankrolling multimillion-dollar commercial lawsuits in return for a share of any judgment or settlement.

It was a gamble that paid off big for Gerchen Keller, now a major player in the growing field of litigation finance, and its three 30-something principals.

Gerchen Keller was acquired last month by its rival, London-based Burford Capital, for $160 million, forming a litigation finance behemoth with a combined $1.2 billion invested in active commercial lawsuits.

"In hindsight, our timing was perfect," said Travis Lenkner, 37, a...

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