The Gladwellian Art of Cross Disciplinary Analysis

One of the reasons Malcolm Gladwell’s writings are so successful is because he pulls together specialised views from across disciplines when addressing in a new and novel way historical issues “often misunderstood or overlooked”.  This is the essence of his wildly popular Revisionist History podcast.  From this cross disciplinary analysis, Gladwell offers a more complete or alternative perspective that can change how we understand historical events.  Cross disciplinary analysis is a powerful technique for better, faster and deeper understanding.   Cross disciplinary analysis is central to everything we do at Profile Investment, resulting in better, faster and clearer analysis of disputes so that neither the applicant nor the lawyers are ever left wondering where they are in the funding process or what we are focussing on. 

Profile investment was founded on three pillars – Legal, Quantum and Enforcement.  These three pillars represent three distinct disciplines that are activated for each and every funding application.  Our legal team is composed of former and experienced private practice lawyers.  Our quantum team is based on the accumulated knowledge of financial and valuation specialists.  Our enforcement team has a proven track record of finding assets and converting hard fought awards into recovered damages and costs.  These three teams summon their knowledge and experience for each funded case; a triangulation of cross fire that quickly and accurately identifies weaknesses and allows us to have timely conversations with applicants about how a case can be strengthened and weaknesses mitigated.   

Looking forward, as the third party funding industry continues to mature we see cross disciplinary analysis at the heart of the inevitable march towards specialisation.  Third party funding may have started with general commercial legal disputes but as the legal profession before it had over centuries developed specialisms and sub-specialisms, third party funders will inevitably follow suit. Third party funders dedicated to specific forums such as litigation, international commercial arbitration, ISDS, adjudication, mediation, already exist.  Third party funders dedicated to specific jurisdictions conscious that commercial customs differ from New York, to London, to Paris, to Dubai to Singapore, Tokyo and Sydney, already exist.  

What we are now seeing are third party funders dedicated to patent disputes, or group litigation/class action, competition claims, insolvency proceedings.  All of these specialisation efforts require a degree of cross disciplinary analysis, but largely from within the lawyer world.  More recently we are seeing what I would argue is true cross disciplinary analysis, bringing in specialists perspectives from multiple fields.  Last year Profile Investment launched a specialised funding vehicle for Construction Disputes.  

Our legal, quantum and enforcement teams work alongside dedicated delay and disruption experts, project managers and quantity surveyors.  By taking our cross disciplinary analysis outside of the legal and financial world and connecting with specialists in the construction world we have been able to react swiftly and accurately to a multitude of applications, considering disputes that have perhaps by others been “misunderstood or overlooked.” 

Author Iain Mckenny is the Co-Founder of Profile Investment leading a cross disciplinary team of 8 lawyers, quantum experts and enforcement specialists. Iain’s specialisms as a lawyer include international commercial and investment treaty arbitration across various sectors including construction, technology, finance and general commercial. 


If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with Iain via email: