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Reuters) – Delta Capital Partners Management LLC, a private equity firm specializing in litigation and legal finance, has brought on DLA Piper partner Jonathan Sablone as a new member of its team.

Sablone, who joined DLA Piper in October 2019 after a nearly 25-year career at Nixon Peabody, assumed his new role this week at Delta as Managing Director and Global Head of Origins.

It’s not a move he necessarily considered. “I expected to continue practicing at a major law firm for another 20 years,” Sablone said.

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But a few things changed that. “First of all, the litigation funding world has exploded over the past few years,” he said. Sablone said he has been involved in litigation funding in a variety of ways for more than 10 years, including representing Delta since its founding and working with other funders.

One of the big changes over the past five years, he said, has been the growing appeal of litigation funding for institutional investors, in part because returns are uncorrelated to the market.

“I see an industry that’s kind of past its infancy, has overcome some of the issues and quirks, and is really ready to take off, as a global investment vehicle for institutional investors, banks, hedge funds, etc. .” Said Sablone.

The legal third-party financing market has generally matured. In a signal of its growth, several major commercial litigation financing firms have come together in September 2020 to create the International Legal Finance Association based in Washington, DC.

Chicago-based Delta, which has a global presence, provides capital and credit solutions to businesses, law firms and individuals. There are also several offers listed on its website as “coming soon”, such as defense solutions.

The hiring of Sablone follows a series of moves for Delta this year, including the launch of its credit-based finance business in April and several new hires and promotions since January. One of these recruits was former head of Clifford Chance Peter Cornell as president of Delta.

Delta, like many legal finance firms, has several other Big Law veterans in its ranks. Martin Lueck, its chief executive, joined last year after retiring as chairman of Robins Kaplan. Delta’s chief executive and managing director is Christopher DeLise, who prior to founding the company was a capital partner at K&L Gates and practiced at Husch Blackwell and DLA Piper.

The Delta team also includes a former Kirkland & Ellis partner as chief underwriting officer, and its general counsel previously practiced at K&L Gates.

At DLA Piper, Sablone founded and co-chaired the firm’s Private Funds Litigation Group. He founded and led the same firm at Nixon Peabody, where he also served as co-chair of the Complex Commercial Litigation Group, Delta said in its Monday announcement. A representative for DLA Piper did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Sablone’s departure.

Sablone said his legal skills and years of dealing with cases will always play a role in his role overseeing deal structuring, in which he will lead the team that finds opportunities to deploy capital.

He is also Delta’s first employee in Boston, where he expects the company to grow and sees an opportunity to tap into the investor market. Boston also offers good connections to the London market and the rest of Europe, he said.

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