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Sheldon Silver and Counsel Financial

Today's New York Times reveals that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver is an investor in Counsel Financial, the litigation finance outfit, thus multiplying his potential conflicts of interest as Albany's leading guardian of Litigation Lobby interests. Counsel's book of business includes stakes in suits against the MTA and other state agencies whose legal environment is shaped by the legislature's enactments. Reporter Danny Hakim quotes our own James Copland as well as a number of other observers and gives some sense of the general controversies that have swirled about the litigation finance business. However, as readers of my write-up last fall at Overlawyered based on Buffalo News coverage are aware, the particular details of Counsel Financial's rise might raise an eyebrow or two on their own:

Counsel Financial Services LLC, which stakes injury lawyers pending their paydays, says it's "the largest provider of attorney loans in the United States and the only Law Firm Financing company endorsed by the AAJ (formerly ATLA)"; its friendly public face is a retired N.Y. judge while its founder is attorney Joseph DiNardo, suspended from practice in 2000 "after pleading guilty to filing a false federal tax return" and whose own lend-to-litigants operation, Plaintiff Support Services, shares an office suite with Counsel [Buffalo News] The firm's current listing of executives includes no mention of DiNardo, though a Jul. 19 GoogleCached version has him listed as President.

Maybe the Times will explore some of these questions in follow-up reporting.

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Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Katherine Lazarski
Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.