Financing the Litigation Arms Race

134 Pages Posted: 19 Nov 2020 Last revised: 26 Apr 2023

See all articles by Samuel Antill

Samuel Antill

Harvard Business School

Steven R. Grenadier

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Date Written: April 25, 2023


Using a dynamic model of litigation, we show that the increasingly popular practice of third-party litigation financing has ambiguous implications for total ex-post litigant surplus. A defendant and a plaintiff bargain over a settlement payment. The defendant takes costly actions to avoid deadweight losses associated with large transfers to the plaintiff. Litigation financing bolsters the plaintiff, leading to larger deadweight losses. However, by endogenously deterring the defendant from taking costly actions, litigation financing can nonetheless improve the joint surplus of the plaintiff and the defendant. In contrast to popular opinion, litigation financing does not necessarily encourage high-risk frivolous lawsuits.

Keywords: law and finance, litigation financing, third-party litigation funding, TPLF, dynamic bargaining, real options

JEL Classification: C73, C78, G23, K41

Suggested Citation

Antill, Samuel and Grenadier, Steven R., Financing the Litigation Arms Race (April 25, 2023). Stanford University Graduate School of Business Research Paper, Available at SSRN: or

Samuel Antill (Contact Author)

Harvard Business School ( email )

Soldiers Field Road
Morgan 270C
Boston, MA 02163
United States

Steven R. Grenadier

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

Graduate School of Business
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States
650-725-0706 (Phone)
650-725-6152 (Fax)

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics