NEW YORK (June 24, 2020) – Leading litigation funder Validity Finance has selected University of Chicago Law School law student Amber S. Stewart for its 2020 Equal Access Fellowship. The program, launched last year, provides a 10-week paid summer fellowship to first-year law students of diverse backgrounds to spend the first half of their summer at Validity learning the basic principles of litigation funding before spending the second half working at the non-profit of their choice. Validity is one of the only funders to provide such a program for first-year law students.
Validity elected to maintain its full 10-week summer program, notwithstanding the logistical difficulties presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ms. Stewart will work with the team at Validity for the first five weeks of her fellowship, beginning mid-July. She will assist in analyzing potential case investments, participating in meetings with claimants and lawyers, drafting articles and conducting legal research on topics related to litigation and dispute funding. Like the rest of the Validity team, she expects to be working remotely during these five weeks.
For the second part of her fellowship Ms. Stewart has elected to work at the Corporate Accountability Lab, a Chicago-based international human rights organization that develops legal tools for holding corporations accountable when they commit human rights and environmental violations.
“We’re looking forward to having Amber join us this summer as our 2020 Equal Access Fellow,” said Validity founder and CEO Ralph Sutton. “Despite constraints the pandemic has placed on businesses across the country, we’re happy to convene our program for a second year. Our team is enthusiastic about working closely with Amber, who has a remarkable academic resumé and background.”
A Florida native, Ms. Stewart had stiff competition from over three dozen applicants from top-tier U.S. law schools. Candidates were asked to submit academic transcripts, and submit essays addressing their interest in litigation funding and describing how they have overcome personal challenges.
As a rising 2L, Ms. Stewart is part of the University of Chicago Law School’s Doctoroff Business Leadership Program — a certificate-granting track for high-achieving students that blends an MBA curriculum into a three-year law school degree. She is also Vice President of the school’s Black Law Students Association (Earl B. Dickerson Chapter). Ms. Stewart obtained an A.B. in Art History and Gender & Sexuality Studies from Princeton University in 2015.
“I was motivated to apply for the fellowship program in part because of Validity’s mission of making the civil justice system more accessible and equitable, which especially resonated with me,” said Ms. Stewart. “I’m hoping the summer will help me better understand the economic and business case for litigation funding, and what kinds of disputes can best benefit from third-party finance solutions.”
Equal Access Fellows work an initial five weeks at Validity and have the option of spending the balance of the summer at the firm or a public service organization of their choice. Validity pays the fellows’ salary for the entire 10-week program.
Last year's inaugural fellows, Jarrett Lewis and Amanda Gonzalez Burton, remain in touch with the Validity Finance team, and will be connecting with Ms. Stewart as part of her orientation. Mr. Lewis is a rising 3L at Georgetown University Law School and managing editor of operations for the Georgetown Journal of Legal Ethics; he will be participating in Debevoise & Plimpton LLP’s summer associate program. Ms. Burton, a rising 3L at the NYU School of Law, will be summering at Cooley LLP. For more on last year’s fellows, visit: https://validity-finance.com/news/summer_fellowship_2019/
Mr. Sutton commented, “As our corner of the legal profession continues to evolve, we want to draw new entrants from diverse communities, who can bring important perspective on disparities in access to justice. Our fellowship program provides law students an excellent grounding in the fundamental best practices of litigation funding and an opportunity for our team to maintain a mentoring relationship as the fellows continue their path in the legal profession.”
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. Validity was founded in 2018 with $250 million in committed capital, one of the largest first-round capital raises in the U.S. market. The firm announced an additional $50 million in committed capital in 2019. 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, innovation, and clarity.
Validity is committed to developing a diverse and inclusive workforce 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.
For more, visit www.validity-finance.com.