NEW YORK (May 14, 2019) – Leading litigation funder Validity Finance has launched a new Equal Access Fellowship, providing a paid summer fellowship to first-year law students of diverse backgrounds. For 2019, the company has selected two distinguished first-year students to spend the summer in Validity’s New York office, with an option to split their time working for a pro bono organization of their choice.
The two inaugural Equal Access Fellows are New York University School of Law JD candidate Amanda Gonzalez Burton and Georgetown University Law Center JD candidate Jarrett Lewis.
“We created the Equal Access Fellowship to help law students from underrepresented backgrounds obtain meaningful experience early in their careers, and begin building the professional networks that will promote their growth,” said Validity founder and CEO Ralph Sutton.
While at Validity, fellows will learn about the burgeoning litigation finance sector and its increasing role in leveling the playing field in commercial disputes. Fellows will interact with perhaps dozens of law firms and help review an equal number of prospective cases seeking funding, performing legal research, participating in client meetings, and drafting articles for publication in the process.
After an initial five weeks, each fellow will have the option of either staying with Validity or spending the balance of the summer with a public service organization of his or her choice. In either case, Validity Finance will pay the fellows’ salaries for the entire 10-week program.
While both Ms. Burton and Mr. Lewis will be based in New York, future fellows will also serve in Validity’s offices in Chicago and Houston as the program expands in size and scope.
Validity expects to maintain an ongoing mentoring relationship with the fellows as they advance through law school and enter the legal profession. Validity hopes participants will emerge from the fellowship with an excellent grounding in the economics of law firms and litigation risk.
The 2019 fellows were chosen through a selective process that included interviews and a review of academic performance. Candidates were also required to submit essays addressing factors that influenced their decision to train as lawyers.
“We want to help lead the litigation funding sector in giving back to the legal community,” said Julia Gewolb, Validity’s Head of Underwriting. “Our new Equal Access Fellowship is an opportunity to invest in the development of our profession by helping promote promising, diverse young lawyers. Fellows will gain not just a solid introduction to the business of law, but an opportunity to meet with dozens of commercial litigation practitioners, helping these young law students build a key professional network early in their legal careers.”
“We are delighted to welcome Amanda Burton and Jarrett Lewis as our inaugural Equal Access Fellows to New York,” Mr. Sutton said. “We look forward to working with these talented law students and are pleased to be offering them an introduction to the world of litigation finance, where stellar lawyers are seeing enormous career opportunities.”
About the Fellows
Validity’s inaugural Equal Access Fellows:
Amanda Gonzalez Burton is a 1L at New York University School of Law, where she is a recipient of the Norma Z. Paige Scholarship and is a Dean’s Scholar and Birnbaum Women’s Leadership Fellow. She is a board member of the Latinx Law Students Association. She previously worked for Teach for America and as a Sponsor for Educational Opportunity Law Fellows at Clifford Chance. Ms. Burton obtained an MBA from Rutgers Business School in 2014 and a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences from Florida State University in 2009, graduating magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa.
Jarrett Lewis, a 1L student at Georgetown Law School, is a member of the Black Law Students Association and the Rise Fellows Program, a pre-orientation program for students from historically underrepresented backgrounds in the legal profession. He previously interned with Foy & Seplowitz LLC and The Legal Aid Society, and attended the Shook Scholars Institute at Shook, Hardy & Bacon. He obtained a Bachelor of Science in criminology from Pennsylvania State University in 2018.
Validity is a commercial litigation finance company that provides businesses, law firms and individuals with non-recourse financing for a wide variety of commercial disputes. Founded in 2018 with $250 million in financing, Validity believes that capital and legal expertise combine to help solve legal problems on behalf of clients. Validity’s’ mission is to make a meaningful difference for clients by focusing on fairness, ethics, innovation, and clarity.
Validity is committed to developing a diverse and inclusive work force in its own offices and within the legal profession as a whole. Validity embraces a broad definition of diversity, encompassing race, gender, ethnicity, disability, and LGBTQ background, as well as individuals from underrepresented social, economic, religious, and geographic backgrounds.
Equal access to justice; equal access to opportunity— this is what Validity believes is fair and right.