Resources

The Bairs Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to provide plaintiffs with low-cost access to capital to assist them in their time of need. In an effort to bring fairness to the non-recourse industry, we provide pre-settlement advances with low, simple interest.

We have gathered some resources to help explain what we do, how we plan to grow, and why the third-party funding industry needs us.

Non-Recourse Funding Basics

When seeking financial assistance from a third party, plaintiffs generally have two borrowing options: recourse and non-recourse. How these two options differ is related to how borrowers are obligated to pay back the money they owe.

With both types of monetary advances, the company has the right to take any assets that have been designated as collateral to secure the advance. If a person receives a recourse advance during litigation and loses his or her lawsuit and cannot pay back the debt, the company is allowed to seize that person’s assets — possibly his or her home, vehicle, and other valuable property. The company can even sue to garnish his or her wages or otherwise file collection actions.

On the other hand, if a person receives a non-recourse advance from a company and loses his or her lawsuit, that person is not personally obligated to pay back the company with these other assets. In other words, if a plaintiff loses the lawsuit, the non-recourse company loses its money because the funding company has agreed in advance to only recover against the lawsuit.

Non-recourse advances are generally more attractive than recourse advances, because borrowers do not risk losing their other property if they lose their lawsuit. Unfortunately, there’s often a catch to borrowing from the unregulated non-recourse industry. Companies can charge astronomical interest rates — sometimes as high as 50 to 100 percent. The risk these companies take is how they often validate their high rates.

Either way, it’s the plaintiff who is likely to suffer the financial burden in the long run. Financial assistance is an absolute necessity for some people when they need money during litigation. When they elect to borrow a non-recourse advance, however, there is a possibility that their settlement recovery amount can become less than the advance amount plus interest. Debt and injury-related bills continue to pile up, and the plaintiff could be left with no recovery and a huge debt.

The Bairs Foundation provides an alternative option for plaintiffs, so families can see their lawsuit through to the end without the burden of staggering interest rates. We provide financial assistance with low, simple interest — the lowest in the industry.

We base our interest rate on the Wall Street Journal U.S. Prime Rate, plus 6.5%, adjusted on a monthly basis. The interest rate for the month is predicated on what prime is at on the first day of the month. As of June 1, 2019, the interest is 12% simple interest.

Our nonprofit organization’s model is so unlike typical non-recourse companies, attorneys and plaintiffs have reached out to us to make sure that it’s really true. We’re so glad to tell them it is.

To learn more about the financial assistance the Bairs Foundation can provide, call us toll-free at (855) 836-2676.

Frequently Asked Questions

Navigating litigation can be expensive and overwhelming. Many plaintiffs, their family members, and even attorneys have asked us great questions about our foundation, as well as more general questions around the non-recourse advance process, interest rates, and much more. To better assist anyone looking for capital during litigation, we have compiled answers to our most frequently asked questions below.

The for-profit, non-recourse industry is unregulated, so the cost of capital is often exorbitant for plaintiffs. We’ve seen interest rates anywhere from 50 to 180 percent on these advances that are often crucial for individuals awaiting settlement. The Bairs Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt nonprofit organization that’s aiming to change that norm. Our foundation provides low-interest financial assistance during litigation. We’re also here to give you advice and equip you to make the best financial decisions possible — not just to provide financial help and then forget about you.
We offer capital with low, simple interest. Simple interest is calculated as a percentage of the original amount of capital (called the principal).
While simple interest is calculated on the principal amount of a financial advance, compound interest is calculated on the principal amount AND the accumulated interest of previous periods. We provide more details about the difference between simple and compound interest here.
Many companies in the non-recourse industry tout their ability to provide plaintiffs with financial assistance very quickly — some as fast as 24 hours. These for-profit companies will advance as much and as frequently as possible, because they will make a staggering return on the interest. For us, it’s not about speed. We know that any amount a person borrows will cost him or her down the road, so we take extra time to consult with families to make sure we’re giving them only what they need. Our turnaround time varies case by case, and we definitely take into consideration time-sensitive or urgent issues. You could receive funds from the Foundation in about 10-15 business days once your request is approved. The careful consideration and attention to details is worth it in the long run.
First, let your lawyer know that you are going to apply. Then, there are two ways to get started. Click here to fill out the online form. A member of our team will reply to you as quickly as possible. You can also call our Foundation toll-free at (855) 836-2676 to speak with someone right away.

If you have a question that you do not see answered here, feel free to reach out to info@bairsfoundation.org. We’re happy to help!

Ethics

We take transparency and integrity very seriously. Our Foundation is committed to not only helping families through trying times, but also making them feel 100 percent comfortable with our funding process. We comply with all state ethics opinions regarding the legal funding process. To the right is a list of states approved for non-recourse plaintiff funding and the opinions they have issued.

Click on your state’s link to download a PDF of the opinion. No opinion was found for the states that are not linked above. If you have any questions or you do not see an ethics opinion for your state, please contact us.

Glossary

Below please find definitions of terms commonly used when discussing aspects of non-recourse advances, the Bairs Foundation, and financial assistance in general. Don’t worry, we know it can be confusing. The Bairs Foundation is here to help.

Assets: Anything of monetary value, such as property, that a person owns, including the value of your lawsuit.

Borrower: The person who will receive financial assistance and will be responsible for repayment.

Capital: Wealth in the form of money. In the framework of the Bairs Foundation, capital is the financial assistance we provide to plaintiffs before, during, and after litigation. Capital = funds = money.

Co-Borrower: A person who, along with the borrower, will assume responsibility for repayment.

Co-Signer: An individual who will assume responsibility but will not receive the capital.

Consumer Protection: The Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) Bureau of Consumer Protection stops unfair, deceptive and fraudulent business practices by:

  • Collecting complaints and conducting investigations
  • Suing companies and people that break the law
  • Developing rules to maintain a fair marketplace
  • Educating consumers and businesses about their rights and responsibilities

The FTC offers tips and advice about money and credit, homes and mortgages, privacy and identity, and more.

Collateral: Assets agreed upon to secure the repayment of financial assistance.

Debt: The amount a person owes for the funds he or she has borrowed.

Interest: Money regularly paid back at a particular rate for the use of borrowed money.

Non-recourse funding agreement or pre-settlement advance: An advance of money for which a person uses his or her lawsuit as collateral. Funding companies agree to only look to the proceeds of the lawsuit and not any of the borrower’s personal assets.

Nonprofit: Like the Bairs Foundation, a nonprofit (or not-for-profit) organization does not distribute income to its shareholders and is typically involved in charitable activities.

Non-recourse advances: Non-recourse companies do not hold borrowers personally liable for their debt. In contrast, recourse advance companies can continue to collect debt even after they’ve taken a person’s collateral. Unlike a bank, non-recourse companies are only providing monetary advances against your lawsuit.

Predatory lending: Certain unfair and deceptive practices in consumer finance industries. The New York State Attorney General offers tips for consumers to protect themselves from predatory acts.

Principal: The original amount of capital borrowed.

Recourse: The agreed-upon right to receive payment from the borrower. Whether a monetary advance comes in the form of recourse, non-recourse, or limited recourse determines whether the institution can take certain assets if repayment is not made.

Seventh Amendment: Amendment VII of the United States Constitution: “In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.”

Simple Interest: Calculated as a percentage of the principal amount of capital.

Term: The length of time until final repayment of financial assistance.

Usury: The illegal action or practice of lending money at unreasonably high rates of interest. Most state laws prohibit companies from charging high rates. For example, in New York state charging, taking, or receiving interest of 25% or more is criminal usury.

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