Oasis Legal Finance offers pre-settlement financing to people involved in litigation. Although pre-settlement financing companies have taken some criticism for the amount they recover from the final settlement, OLF's Pekin believes those views come from people who don't understand what it's like to be backed into a corner waiting for litigation to settle.
"They will have to return the principal and a fee based on how long it takes," says Pekin. "I want to make sure we are being conservative. My goal is to see that the client has enough money to pay the attorney, the expenses or any liens on the file, pay us and still have a nice check at the end."
"The most typical is an auto accident case," says Peking, "but we deal with all kinds of injury cases, slip and fall, premises liability cases and workers compensation in certain states. We look at many types of cases, but these are the most typical."
"We will often give them small amounts, $1,000 or $1,500, to cover their living expenses, to pay their mortgage, because otherwise they will lose that home," says Pekin. "If they have large values in their case, we will sometimes give them $5,000 if they need it."
And the advance comes with a guarantee from Oasis.
"If they lose the case, they don't have to repay it," says Pekin.
In Colorado, the attorney general's office alleges that OLF charges clients excessive and illegal interest rates. However, OLF has countered saying the company does not provide clients with loans. Pekin points out that OLF offers pre-settlement advances, not loans.
"These plaintiffs have no access to traditional financing while their claims are pending," answers Pekin. "Oasis takes the risk and provides them the money they so desperately need during the pendency of their legal claims."
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"The contract provides that should sufficient funds be available, Oasis will receive a pre-set multiple of the amount funded increasing over time until repaid."
"I believe we are helping people," says Pekin. "My job is to help the client manage their financial situation."
Oasis Legal Finance is headquartered in Northbrook, Illinois, and is active in 45 states in the US. In addition to providing pre-settlement funding, OLF also provides services for the sale of structured settlements. Elizabeth Pekin, the executive director of legal funding at OLF, holds a JD from Tulane University in New Orleans. OLF is active in the regulatory and legislative areas of the legal industry that deal with pre-settlement funding.