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Financing Litigation

Read this plea and see if you can resist.

"I am a single mother of Two young kids, it was married and due the household Hostility from my Ex, We had a very funny relationship until we finally got divorced. The house where we are living, the house recently served us an eviction notice and I intend to contest that in court.

"I want to use this platform to solicit for financial assistance to that effect, please help a single mum."


Can you honestly say you wouldn't contribute to a cause like that?

Well, maybe you can, but that's the most successful funding plea - percentage-of-goal-wise - on a lawsuit crowd-funding site called FundedJustice where, in Kickstarter-like fashion, you can contribute to causes that strike your fancy.

I suppose this isn't a bad idea, but if you browse the funding pleas on the site, you'll notice there's not a whole lot of funding going on.

The reason should be obvious: no return on investment.

Sure, you might feel good helping out someone in need, but you'd rather have a tote bag or a building named after you.

After all, that's how Kickstarter works - you don't get ownership of the project but you do get souvenirs or access.

I have suggestions for fundraising incentives.

Conduct tours of the crime scene and reenactments.

Give out autographed copies of deposition records not available at courthouses to the general public.

And for your biggest donors, there can be a meet-and-greet at the courthouse.

Who knows? There could be some chemistry with that single mum.

The mum quoted above, by the way, raised $532 from two donors - 152 percent of her goal - minus fees for the website and PayPal or a credit card company.

If your plea is heart-rending enough, you don't need more incentive.

Law firm financing. I know what some of the cynics out there are thinking: How do we know that the money contributed to FundedJustice actually goes to litigation?

Well, I'm not sure you do.

However, there's a British version of this concept called CrowdJustice that requires you to have a lawyer, and the donated money goes directly into a client trust account.

At least that what the site says.

So why shouldn't individual law firms do this?

Think of all the great cases you could have if only the clients could afford your fees.

Now they can - if you put up their tales of woe on your website and ask for crowd-funding.

It's better than contingency fees, because you don't have to win.

Something fishy. Is it possible to make too many arguments?

Should you leave some stones unturned?

I suppose a zealous advocate would say no, but clearly the answer is yes.

Case in point: Check out page 14 of a ruling from a California Court of Appeal called Citizens for a Better Way v. U.S. Department of the Interior , where we find this sentence: "Plaintiff Colusa suggests that the planned casino poses a danger to six fish species, five of which are listed under the Endangered Species Act."

Ponder that for a moment.

Casinos - fish.

There's got to be a connection there, right?

Could the fish be addicted to gambling and be in danger of losing their homes?

Is the casino being built in the middle of a lake?

Is the casino restaurant only serving seafood?

Are fish being given away every time someone spins three hooks on the Deadliest Catch Net Your Way to Wealth slot machine?

Apparently, it's none of the above.

According to the court, an environmental impact statement "indicates that the fish species 'do not have the potential to occur within the study area, as the only aquatic habitats within the study area are agricultural irrigation ditches and canals.'"

Yeah, but somebody could put some fish in the ditches and then they could be wiped out.

I would have argued the casino was a danger to cows. You see a lot of beef eaters in casinos.

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