As we continue to discuss the benefits of using litigation funding, how it can help companies grow, and how it provides new paths for entrepreneurial litigators, I have begun to explain how we at Lake Whillans think about building a quality litigation funding company. The purpose of this series of posts is to share a little about our vision of litigation finance and how we are building our company. If there are any topics that you might be curious to learn about just email me at email@example.com.
In my last post on the topic, I discussed some of the less obvious benefits that are derived from selecting profitable investments. Today, I want to discuss how we think about the Lake Whillans ‘brand’.
Most of time when we think about brand, we associate it with consumer products such as Apple, Coca-Cola, or BMW. It might be more difficult to conceptualize an investment firm as having a brand identity. For example, is there any meaningful difference between the Morgan Stanley and JPMorgan brands? Probably not.
While it may seem a bit out of the normal course for an investment firm to think about brand, we at Lake Whillans do; and it stems from the strong personal beliefs that Boaz (my co-founder at Lake Whillans) and I hold about the kind of company we want to build and the environment in which we want to work. We first started to actively think about brand and how we could best convey our belief system when it came time to build a website. What did we feel was important for companies and their counsel to know about us? About what we do? About how we approach our work and how we work with others? To help us think through these issues, we hired an incredible brand strategy and design firm: Little Jacket. After describing what we believed was the essence of Lake Whillans to the firm’s CEO, Ken Hejduk, he was able to find a word that encapsulated our vision of Lake Whillans: Human.
Both Boaz and I had experience working in large firms and corporations, and while those companies are great at what they do and can achieve fantastic results for their clients, they are often bureaucratic entities that cannot take a nimble or creative approach to investing. In a dynamic industry like litigation finance we felt that we would have to be able to give personalized attention to each company in which we invested. The companies and their counsel that approach us looking for capital are often in unfamiliar terrain, having never raised capital for a litigation (though that phenomenon is starting change as we begin to repeatedly invest in strong litigators). We wanted to build a company in which we could develop real relationships with the companies in which we are investing, and eliminate any bureaucratic systems that buffered Lake Whillans’ decision makers from the people with which we work. In our daily practice this translates to: nimble decision making, a bespoke/creative approach to deal structure, and constant communication with our partners. At Lake Whillans, there are no rules that are set in stone, and we try to have a flexible and value-additive approach to each opportunity.
So how does one take these ideas/words and ferment them into a brand or identity? We take several approaches:
- Education: we offer CLE courses on the ethics of litigation finance in order to teach people about litigation finance; we want to meet as many lawyers as possible and have conversations about what we do and best practices when seeking funding.
- Publishing: we write articles, such as the one you are reading right now, sharing our beliefs and discussing how litigation finance can be used and the process of working with Lake Whillans.
- Word-of-mouth: we like to think that we have been able to cultivate great relationships with our partners, as we have received numerous referrals from those with which we have worked. Before taking on a new matter, we always suggest that the company talk to our previous partners so they can gain an understanding of our process from a third party.
Lastly, we try to make sure that any public facing representation of Lake Whillans embodies our brand identity. To that end, I would like to unveil our new website: lakewhillans.com. We have continued to grow and learn as a company since our initial website was built last year, and I hope that you will see some of those changes reflected in our updated aesthetic. I want to thank Ken Hejduk, and the entire Little Jacket team for lending their artistry to the project. Please take a look and let us know what you think (firstname.lastname@example.org).