Why? That was the question I was asked most frequently when I left Poelmann van den Broek Advocaten after 22 years to set up Capaz Procesfinanciering (Capaz Litigation Funding). My decision was based on a combination of factors.
First there is the concept of litigation funding itself. I only learned of its existence 18 months ago, but the discovery immediately triggered something in me. In my work as a lawyer I frequently came across cases which had stalled because the client had no (more) time, money or desire to pursue the matter. The greatest obstacle for them was often the uncertainty: how long might the case last and above all, what would it cost. Private individuals as well as businesses want clarity from the outset. I could see that these cases had a good chance of success, but I also understood why these clients hesitated.
From time to time a client would challenge me: if you are so certain of success, let’s share the risk: put your money where your mouth is! But a “no cure, no pay” structure is not permitted among legal practitioners in the Netherlands. And rightly so, as one would always wish to avoid the lawyer having a personal interest in a case. In litigation funding however, the various interests are strictly segregated. Capaz as an investor will have no role or voice in the proceedings. All we do is to judge in advance whether the case has a good chance of succeeding, and to offer the client and his lawyer access to our network, if they both feel this is desirable. The outcome is that justified claims come to court more frequently. That observation also contributed to my decision.
I also find the business side of things very exciting, building up something new from scratch. We really are pioneers here. We have had to re-invent ourselves to take on the development of this very new market. This makes the whole enterprise a fascinating challenge! And last but not least, Twan and Tom played a major role in persuading me to take this step. We mesh well together, on both the business and personal levels. We trust one another, we work hard and we enjoy ourselves.
I have certainly not said goodbye to the legal world, and I will continue to use my legal expertise, my knowledge and experience of procedural matters and my network in my work with Capaz. My decision to set up Capaz did mean I would no longer be practising as an advocate, and that I would be parting company with Poelmann van den Broek. That is certainly a significant step, and I will miss my colleagues and clients. But this feels like a wonderful opportunity, and one I ought to seize. So if you’ve been wondering why I did this, now you have the answer.