Running and working at a legal funding company requires a combination of financial and legal savvy, grit, expert management, and an ability to stay ahead of the curve as the industry and your business continue to evolve. While doing all that may come easily for some, we have yet to meet them. So for the rest of us, we can rely on books to gain the knowledge we need, and we're in good company.
The Harvard Business Review offers Phil Knight (Nike) and Steve Jobs (Apple) as two examples of voracious readers, noting that "deep, broad reading habits are often a defining characteristic of our greatest leaders and can catalyze insight, innovation, empathy, and personal effectiveness."
With thousands of books to choose from, it can be challenging to figure out what's relevant, especially for legal funding. To assist, we've put together this list of 8 books that legal funding professionals have recommended as helping their teams worker smarter, themselves run their businesses, and that have helped them better understand the stakeholders shaping litigation finance.
Books for Account / Case Managers
How to Win Friends and Influence People
On the "must read" lists of (incredibly) successful business leaders such as Warren Buffett, this book is packed with rock-solid advice on how to improve people skills, and it is a goldmine for anyone interacting with plaintiffs or attorneys.
We all know that sometimes those conversations can get heated -- whether its the plaintiff calling you for the fifth time or an attorney playing hardball -- and How to Win Friends will arm you with the understanding and tact to effectively handle those difficult conversations.
The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right
If you're a case manager, you have a complex job. You have to keep tons of information (plaintiff, attorney, case) in order, and balance multiple stakeholders (plaintiff, attorney, underwriters, payments and more) across multiple applications for funding. This book will provide you with a simple, yet highly effective tool - checklists - you can use to guarantee that you are hitting all the steps needed to move a funding application through the different stages at your company, reduce errors, and ensure nothing slips through the cracks.
Books for Attorney Sales
The Sandler Rules: 49 Timeless Selling Principles and How to Apply Them
Selling attorneys can be challenging. They can be hard to reach, adversarial by training, and almost always crunched for time. To make your job even more difficult, most either have either a neutral or negative view of legal funding.
The Sandler Selling System is based on interacting with prospects and clients in an honest, no-nonsense way and still get results. This book gives you 49 short, actionable, and memorable tactics to make overcome the challenges of selling attorneys. Some particularly useful tips to read more about for attorney sales:
- Don't paint "seagulls" in your prospect's picture.
- The way to get rid of a bomb is to defuse it before it blows up.
- People buy in spite of the hard sell, not because of it.
Little Red Book of Selling: 12.5 Principles of Sales Greatness
Whereas The Sandler Rules provides very tactical ways to improve attorney sales, this book will help you establish and maintain the right mindset, process, and motivation to keep you charging ahead when the going gets tough. Particularly useful tips for your attorney sales team members:
- Kick your own ass.
- Celebrate effort, not victory.
- It's all about value. It's all about relationship.
Attorney sales is often relationship-driven, and this book dedicates an entire section to the value of networking and how to network more effectively.
Books for Owners/Managers
The Lean Startup
Practically a bible in the tech world and also embraced by businesses of all sizes and industries, The Lean Startup is a guide to creating a business under conditions of extreme uncertainty in order to discover a successful path to a sustainable business.
As we all know, legal funding is constantly changing, with new regulations, new entrants, and increased media attention. The tactics outlined in this book provide managers and executives of legal funding companies a framework to adapt and adjust as the playing field changes, and quickly discard strategies that don't work.
One of the biggest problems businesses in any industry face is hiring. This task is made even more challenging in plaintiff finance, since so few people have prior experience working in or running a funding company. By reading Who, you'll gain tactics to help you attract the right people, ask the right interview questions, hire, and retain the right people for optimal success.
Books for the Entire Company - Legal, Justice, PI
Here are two final books that are highly specific to our industry and the positive effects that legal funding can have on justice. They both offer deep insight into the primary stakeholders in legal funding - legal funders themselves, contingency attorneys, and the insurance industry. Conspicuously left off that list - plaintiffs.
Investing in Justice: An Introduction to Legal Finance, Lawsuit Advances, and Litigation Funding
Written by Max Volsky of LexShares, Investing in Justice provides a clear and comprehensive framework for understanding the industry and the positive effects it has on creating more balanced legal systems. Although it leans much more towards commercial litigation finance, It is still a good read for those involved in personal injury funding, from a new hire, regardless of their role, to funding leaders who are looking for a better understanding of how legal funding is evolving and where the industry may be heading.
From Good Hands to Boxing Gloves: The Dark Side of Insurance
This book's title is based on a 1994 presentation made by the consulting firm of McKinsey and Company to Allstate insurance on how to increase their profits, ushering tactics into the legal world you're sure to be familiar with:
- "Good Hands" - settle 90% of claims in first 180 days
- "Boxing Gloves" - deliberate delay of 4+ years to settle remaining 10%
It also uses real world examples -- Enron, AllState, Hurricane Katrina Claims -- to further illustrate how insurance companies are improperly denying, delaying, and defending claims.
This book is so powerful that Oasis Financial gives copies to all of their employees. It's a great way to remind all legal funders what we're fighting for. The book concretely shows all the ways insurance companies can take advantage of helpless plaintiffs, especially if left unchecked. Legal funding is, of course, competitive to insurers ability to make lowball settlement offers. It's for that reason, they lobby against our industry.
Written ByJosh Schwadron
Chief Executive Officer
About the author
Joshua is a lawyer and tech entrepreneur who speaks and writes frequently on the civil justice system. Previously, Joshua founded Betterfly, a VC-backed marketplace that reimagined how consumers find local services by connecting them to individuals rather than companies. Betterfly was acquired by Takelessons in 2014. Joshua holds a JD from Emory University, and a BA in Economics and MA in Accounting from the University of Michigan.
About the reviewer