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Francesca Castagnola

Senior Managing Director, Western Alliance Bank

Francesca Castagnola is Senior Managing Director of the Juris Banking Group at Western Alliance Bank. 

The legal industry is at an inflection point, as clients are changing the way they consume legal services and legal service providers are changing the way they deliver them. Ms. Castagnola is at the vanguard of these changes, leveraging her decades of experience and insights to advise law firms and other legal service providers in the way they meet the evolving needs of clients.

Drawing on 35 years of banking experience, Ms. Castagnola served as the architect of, and now leads, the Bank’s national Juris Banking Group, which includes multiple lines of business that serve the legal community. Those include Settlement Services, which serves law firms, claims administrators and others managing class action, mass tort and bankruptcy settlements, and the Bank’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy offering, which is registered with all 21 U.S. Trustee Regions.

In response to endemic challenges in the class action payment process, Ms. Castagnola also spearheaded the Bank’s 2022 acquisition of Digital Disbursements, the leading digital payments platform for the class action industry and in 2023 launched NewLaw Banking, which was built to serve innovative law firms, alternative legal service providers and legal technology companies. The group’s offerings include depository and lending solutions designed for the firms that are changing the way legal services are delivered. 

Ms. Castagnola is also a thought leader and is behind many of the premier research reports and events that are relied upon by the legal community. These include annual research reports, such as a first-of-its-kind Rule 23 Amendments Research Report in 2020, followed in 2021 by another groundbreaking research report centering on the complex issues and nuanced perspectives of cy pres, objectors and quick-pay. Ms. Castagnola and her team also launched one of the most respected annual conferences in the mass tort and class action space, the Western Alliance Bank Class Action Law Forum™, in 2019, which is held in collaboration with University of San Diego School of Law. As Founder and Steering Committee member, she is dedicated to bringing together top industry experts from the plaintiffs’ bar, defense bar, the bench and legal service providers to share expertise on industry trends and practices.

Published articles and collaborations with industry leaders include:

  • Securities Class Actions Are Surging and Getting More Complex: Here’s What You Need to Know
  • As Data Breaches Proliferate, Class Action Law Hustles to Keep Pace
  • Class Action Experts Weigh In on Rule 23 Changes
  • Transparency and Accountability are Paramount in Class Action
  • The Age of Mega Filings: Four Post-Settlement Considerations for the Care and Safety of Funds
  • Five Things Plaintiffs’ Counsel Should Know about the Settlement-Distribution Process