Richard W. Fields is the founder and CEO of Juridica Asset Management Limited (“JAML”), one of the most successful litigation funding firms in the world. Founded by Mr. Fields in 2007, Juridica has gathered a team of innovators to provide corporations and law firms with economic support for complex lawsuits in business-to-business disputes. The firm manages Juridica Investments Limited (“JIL”) which successfully went public in late 2007 on the Alternative Investment Market (AIM) of the London Stock Exchange.
Previously, Mr. Fields was a partner at major Washington, D.C.-based law firms, addressing complex litigation and dispute resolution, with a focus on insurance coverage. After training at Arnold and Porter, Mr. Fields was a partner at what was then Howrey & Simon (1989-1994), Swidler Berlin (1994-1999) and Dickstein Shapiro (2003-2008).
As a litigator of complex corporate claims, Mr. Fields came to realize that claims are assets on the balance sheet like plant, equipment and inventory, and that litigation itself is a tool to monetize those claims. As a new and growing asset class, commercial litigation interests are especially attractive during times of economic uncertainty because they are uncorrelated to the larger economy. As an investor, Juridica recognizes the key is in the due diligence to determine which cases – based on their merit, and based on how they are managed – justify financing. Experts are retained in the relevant jurisdiction to provide case assessment, an evaluation process that normally takes from 60 to 90 days. The use of outside capital to finance litigation allows General Counsels to hedge risk and make more efficient use of corporate capital in the same way that alternative fee arrangements provide them with these benefits. Historically, Juridica invests in less than 5% of the cases it reviews and does not invest in speculative or high-risk cases.
Mr. Fields’ pioneering work at Juridica has inspired interest among a variety of reform-minded organizations – including the RAND Institute – that see in Juridica a free market-based solution to the abuses and inefficiencies of the civil justice system.
During his legal career, Mr. Fields recovered several billion dollars for numerous Fortune 500 clients. In 2006, during his tenure at Dickstein Shapiro, Mr. Fields was named by Lawdragon magazine as a “Leading Lawyer” and described as "widely considered one of the top lawyers in the field working on behalf of policyholders...he brings an expertise in resolving insurance disputes in both the United States and Europe." These disputes involved professional negligence, securities fraud, pollution, asbestos, products liability, and mass torts for major oil, chemical, utility, banking, and manufacturing concerns. Over the course of his career Mr. Fields resolved many of the largest claims ever presented to London market insurers and became a widely recognized authority on the resolution of London market insurance and reinsurance disputes.
Over the years, Mr. Fields has represented Credit Suisse First Boston, Amtrak, and Professional Services Insurance Corporation Limited (the captive insurer of Arthur Andersen LLP), among others. In the oil industry, Mr. Fields represented numerous global oil companies, including BP Amoco (and its predecessor companies, British Petroleum and Amoco), Phillips Petroleum, Ultramar Diamond Shamrock, Ashland Oil Company, and British Gas. He helped Amoco Oil Company settle, in just a few months, a 10-year-old insurance dispute with the London market involving claims related to plastic pipe products as well as a multi-year dispute involving environmental and toxic tort claims.
In the gas and electric industry, Mr. Fields represented dozens of national and regional companies, including Edison International, Pacificorp, Niagara Mohawk, Florida Power Corporation, and many others. He represented major industrial and commercial companies such as General Electric, American Airlines, and General Motors Corporation.
In the area of products liability insurance, Mr. Fields represented 3M Company in resolving a major insurance dispute with the London market arising out of breast implant claims. He also represented numerous multinational companies facing asbestos and other major product liability claims.
At Swidler Berlin, Mr. Fields managed the firm’s insurance coverage practice. Under his leadership, the practice grew rapidly and became one of the most profitable of its kind in the United States.
Mr. Fields was ranked in the 2006 edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business annual guide as a leader in the area of Insurance: Dispute Resolution for New York. According to the guide, he was widely recognized as a "leading light on complex insurance disputes."
Long before founding Juridica, Mr. Fields was a successful entrepreneur as well as a lawyer. In 1999, he founded a company that developed an Internet-based software platform for placing commercial insurance and resolving insurance claims. The company was successfully sold to a Bermuda insurer and London insurance broker. In 2001, he founded an international consulting firm in London called Global Risk Strategies concentrating on insurance coverage problems for policyholders in the United States and abroad. The model that Mr. Fields developed, of trading claims against insolvent London market insurers, is still widely used today. For Mr. Fields, it was an important venture as it crystallized his thinking about claims as assets that can be traded like other kinds of assets and derivatives.
Mr. Fields is also known as an advocate for human rights. Since the September 11th attacks, he has been representing victims of terrorism and their families that have pursued claims against those alleged to have assisted in the financing of terrorism. He actively supports Human Rights Watch, where he served as Co-Chairman of the New York Committee and is currently a member of the Audit Committee and the Advisory Committee of the Children’s Rights Division.
Mr. Fields is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Indiana University, B.A. (1977), and received his J.D., summa cum laude, from Indiana University (1982). He is an active member of the District of Columbia Bar Association, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, the American Bar Association and the International Bar Association. He also serves on the Advisory Board of the McKinney School of Law at Indiana University and the Advisory Board of the Rand Corporation’s Institute for Civil Justice. He is also serves on the Board of two privately held biotech companies.