Dispute financing company Bentham IMF has hired well-known international arbitration expert Annie Lespérance, FCIArb, as Legal Counsel in its Montreal office as it continues to expand both its arbitration bench strength, and its presence in a growing Quebec market. Annie is the eighth lawyer to join the Canadian team, and will assist in assessing commercial litigation and arbitration matters, where clients seek funding to manage the cost or risk of pursuing a claim.

Prior to joining Bentham, Annie practised as a lawyer at Cabinet Yves Fortier (2012-2019) and the Permanent Court of Arbitration (2011-2012), where she acted as Secretary to Arbitral Tribunals in international commercial, investor-State and sports arbitration disputes under a wide range of procedural rules (ICC, ICSID, LCIA, UNCITRAL, PCA, ICDR, SIAC, HKIAC, CAS, SDRCC) and governing laws. Annie has been appointed as an arbitrator and is a member of various arbitration rosters, including NAFTA's Chapter 19 Roster of Panelists and ICDR Canada's panel of arbitrators. She has also been recognized as a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators (FCIArb) based in London, UK.

Annie's hire reflects the growth in arbitration funding, as well as the increasing demand for litigation funding across Canada. Annie will leverage her unique experience acting as arbitral secretary for one of the world's preeminent arbitrators to conduct due diligence on potential investments, and work with lawyers and clients to manage funded matters. She adds considerable depth to Bentham IMF's global arbitration team, which also recently welcomed Dana MacGrath, the president of Arbitral Women and a leading international arbitration lawyer who was previously a partner at Sidley Austin in New York. Bentham's team includes arbitration experts in Canada, the US, the UK, Singapore, Hong Kong and Australia.

"Litigation funders have become key players in the arbitration and commercial litigation landscape. I am absolutely delighted to join the world's oldest and most experienced dispute financing company and a team of sophisticated lawyers," says Annie.

Annie adds to a growing team in Montreal that includes Montreal office leader and former McCarthy Tétrault LLP partner Pierre-Jérôme Bouchard, and senior advisor George Hendy, a veteran Montreal litigator who practised for over 45 years at Ogilvy Renault (now Norton Rose Fulbright Canada), Phillips & Vineberg (now Davies, Ward, Philipps and Vineberg LLP) and Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt.

"Annie's arrival truly complements our team in Montreal. She brings a different and unique experience and will be a great asset for claimants not only in the international arbitration space, including both commercial and investor-state disputes, but also in all types of cases," says Pierre-Jerome.

Annie earned her law degree from Université de Montréal and her LL.M. cum laude, from Leiden University. Annie was called to the Quebec Bar in 2010 and to the Paris Bar in 2011. She is fluent in French, English and Spanish.

Bentham IMF is delighted to welcome Annie to the team.