Gail Markels Joins American Legal Finance Association as Executive Director

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New executive director will focus on promoting industry standards in the fast-growth legal funding industry, especially regarding transparency in transactions and clear disclosure to consumers.

Based on her strong background, we look to Gail Markels to be an advocate for our industry and expand our network of friends

Gail Markels has been named Executive Director of the American Legal Finance Association (ALFA), a non-profit trade association formed by leading legal finance companies in 2004 to define industry standards and best practices.

ALFA members provide non-recourse, pre-settlement funding to consumers who are engaged in lawsuits, a recent innovation in American jurisprudence. While the consumer awaits the resolution of their case, a modest advance provides relief from accumulating bills, potential eviction or loan foreclosure, and keeps food on the table for the client and their family.

In her new role, Markels is expected to spearhead several initiatives designed to promote responsible regulation of the legal finance industry and ensure strong consumer protections through ALFA's Best Practices. She will work closely with policy makers, consumer advocates and ALFA member companies to ensure that non-recourse legal funding remains a safe and viable option for consumers in need.

"We are delighted that someone with Ms. Markels' experience, reputation, and record of success will be at the helm of ALFA," said ALFA co-founder Harvey Hirschfeld. "We look forward to working closely with her in promoting best practices for our industry and ensuring that firms involved in our industry comply with rules and regulations that protect the consumers we support."

"I am honored and excited to be part of such a vital organization that is playing an important role in helping consumers to make it through difficult financial times," Markels said. "I hope to continue the crucial work that ALFA has already accomplished and take further steps toward ensuring that the legal finance industry offers consumers safe choices and operates with full transparency."

Patrick C. Lynch, Rhode Island Attorney General and President of the National Association of Attorneys General characterized Gail Markels as a "highly trusted and tireless advocate for consumers who has gained the respect of those who have worked with her. She will be a tremendous asset to ALFA."

"Gail Markels is a respected professional who I have come to rely on for her knowledge and integrity," said Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. "I have worked with Gail to develop positive programs that have benefitted the citizens of Utah."

Strong Background in Advocacy, Regulatory Issues and Consumer Affairs:

Most recently, Gail Markels was General Counsel and SVP for the Entertainment Software Association (ESA), where she helped to structure and develop both the ESA and Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), and represented the industry before state and local legislative bodies nationwide. She was instrumental in First Amendment litigation, and in gaining national acceptance for the ESRB as the oversight entity for videogame content. Gail Markels has been a champion of one of the few successful self-regulatory bodies to gain acceptance with industry, legislative authorities, and the general public (1994-2008).

Prior to working at the Entertainment Software Association, Ms. Markels was VP & Legislative Counsel for the Motion Picture Association (MPA). In this role she worked directly with Jack Valenti, president of MPA, and the originator of the movie rating system (1984-1994). Ms. Markels' strong relationships with State Attorneys General, and state and local government officials has enabled the motion picture and video game industries to flourish despite intense efforts to impose government regulation.

Ms. Markels began her career as an Assistant District Attorney, Office of the District Attorney of Kings County, Brooklyn, New York, where she had a 100% trial conviction rate. (1981-1983).
Gail Markels holds the J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York, New York, and the B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University. She is a board member of the National Coalition Against Censorship. Ms. Markels will continue to represent select clients with First Amendment and regulatory issues through her firm, Markel Strategies. She resides in Chappaqua, NY.

"Based on her strong background, we look to Gail Markels to be an advocate for our industry and expand our network of friends," said Hirschfeld.

About the American Legal Finance Association:
The American Legal Finance Association (ALFA) is a national association of companies that provide funding to consumers involved in civil legal proceedings. ALFA was established as a not-for-profit corporation in 2004 after working with the New York Attorney General to establish best practices for the industry. In addition to its work to promote high standards for fair business practices and become an advocate for positive industry change, ALFA is the liaison to the public and the media to increase understanding about the legal funding industry and communicate about the service its members provide to tens of thousands of people each year. ALFA currently comprises the industry's leading companies, representing over 90% of industry activity around the country.

More information about ALFA can be found at its website, http://www.americanlegalfin.com.

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