Saturday, February 24, 2007

David Berger Dies

Davidberger David Berger, the Philadelphia lawyer who became the dean of the antitrust class action plaintiffs bar, died Thursday at age 94.  His obituary is in today's New York Times.

This is a wholly unscientific observation.  But just as Russell Korobkin has argued there is a coordination function for law school rankings, there is, it seems to me, a coordination function in the law firm world, particularly when it comes to plaintiffs' lawsuits.  When I was practicing in Detroit, there were plaintiffs' personal injury lawyers who you knew had their pick of the best cases.  So if one of them was on the pleading, it was likely that there was something to the case.  And, by and large, these elite lawyers tended not to squander that asset by taking on strike-suit quality cases.  You took it seriously not just because the lawyer was a good lawyer, but because it signaled a serious matter.

David Berger was one of those lawyers in the antitrust field.  When the sharks went after the blood in the water by way of follow-on private civil lawsuits to the announcement of DOJ criminal price-fixing actions, firms like Berger & Montague jumped in as well.  But when things settled out, if you didn't see them clamoring for a place at the head of the lead attorney pack, you could have a pretty good idea how serious the matter was or was not.

[Jeff Lipshaw]

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