Joseph Genovesi, University alum, has worked his way up the financial ladder to become the president of RD Legal Funding. Genovesi has simultaneously been giving back to the community as the University taught him throughout his time spent in different service organizations.
A 2001 graduate, Genovesi was honored for his work with 9/11 First Responders and is currently on the board for Big Brothers/Big Sisters. Genovesi was recently named to NJ Biz’s list for 40 under 40, a significant award granted only to New Jersey’s most accomplished businessmen and businesswomen under the age of 40.
While at the University, Genovesi filled his time with activities such as student theatre, Blue Key, Habitat for Humanity, intramural sports and Orientation.
Attending the University helped to prepare him for more than just a career. He learned “how to have a real desire to help the community and to get involved, give back and remember where you came from,” he says.
Most importantly, the University taught him to have a good work ethic, to do well in school and to want to excel in what he does.
After graduation, he chose to give back by joining Big Brothers/Big Sisters and has had the same little brother since he graduated.
“Villanova promotes giving back to the community and doing what you can do,” Genovesi says. “I had that instilled in me when I was there.”
Though his “Little Brother” in the program has grown out of the formally planned meetings of Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Genovesi still makes time to see him. A year and a half ago, his “Little Brother” was even a member of of Genovesi’s wedding party. This type of long-term commitment prompted Big Brothers/Big Sisters to ask Genovesi to be a board member of thier organization in order to further his involvement.
“There is less of a time commitment, but more in line with what I can handle, about once a month,” Genovesi says.
Genovesi’s experience at the University helped him to find a job first at a Swiss bank, then at a hedge fund and for the past two and a half years, at RD Legal Funding.
Litigation funding or legal financing is when a company advances a portion of a settlement between two parties in a court of law. In both civil and criminal cases, when the plaintiff sues a company and wins a large settlement, the money is not necessarily paid right away.
A legal funding company can advance a portion of the settlement to the plaintiff and get paid back once the company pays the settlement. This type of funding can also help lawyers to fund their court cases since they can be very expensive. In order to prevent lawyers from taking bad settlements, litigation funds can help to supply them with the money they need in order to make a good case.
This type of funding is just starting to pick up in the United States. The litigation-funding sector is big in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
The funds have also been used to help 9/11 First Responders through an organization called the FealGood Foundation, which Genovesi helps through work.
“We have done a lot of work with that group trying to get them access to their awards,” he says. “It has taken a long time to get help from the government because of the way the fund is structured. For the first responders to access their awards quicker, we are funding them so they can deal with any illnesses and other issues that affect them.”
Genovesi was recently honored at their September gala as a friend of the organization for all the work he has done to help the FealGood Foundation.
Because RD Legal Funding is such a young company with these types of service initiatives and an entrepreneurial culture of constant creativity, Genovesi greatly appreciates his job.
He also goes home with the knowledge that he is helping people out by providing them with money that they were unable to get access to before.
As a piece of advice to students looking to go into litigation funding, Genovesi says most financial jobs demand a lot of time from their employees. Like most successful businessmen, he encourages students to pursue what they love so that these long hours are easier, and maybe even enjoyable, to work.
“The greatest minds in finance work in hedge funds,” Genovesi says.
It is exciting to work in a place where people truly understand the market and get the opportunity to holistically utilize business skills they have acquired.
“You will find in the working world, everyone is smart and qualified, so the best way to differentiate yourself is to work hard.,” he says.
Genovesi urges students to enjoy every moment of college. “Do well, but enjoy your time,” he says. “Join as many clubs and activities as you can, meet as many people and network because college is one of the best times in your life.”