Francesca Castagnola is Senior Managing Director of the Juris Banking Group at Western Alliance Bank. As a visionary in providing banking services to the legal industry, she has built expert teams that specialize in providing full-service banking solutions to meet the needs of law firms, claims administrators and other key players in the legal ecosystem. She is also a founding officer of the Bank’s San Diego Division.
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 constantly evolving needs of their clients.
Drawing upon her 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 their expertise and insights on leading industry trends and practices.
A frequent speaker and writer, some of Ms. Castagnola’s published articles and collaborations with industry leaders include:
Ms. Castagnola also serves on Western Alliance Bank’s Opportunity Council, which provides guidance and support to the Bank’s various business resource and affinity groups including WAL Women’s Alliance, PRIDE@Work, African American Group, Abilities Group and many more. She is a member of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Finance Committee for The Academy of our Lady of Peace, the oldest and only all-girls’ Catholic high school in San Diego.
Ms. Castagnola attended the University of San Diego.
Western Alliance Settlement Services, a national banking group within Western Alliance Bank, Member FDIC, specializes in banking for law firms, claims administrators and related businesses managing class action, mass tort and bankruptcy settlements nationwide. Relationship bankers bring clients years of experience and offer outstanding service to support all phases of the settlement process, from escrow to distribution, with a single point of contact. Settlement Services is part of Western Alliance Bancorporation, which has more than $70 billion in assets. Major accolades include being ranked as a top U.S. bank in 2023 by American Banker and Bank Director. With significant national capabilities, the Settlement Services Group delivers the reach, resources and deep industry knowledge that make a difference for customers.