Friday, June 1, 2007
William Lerach, the prominent securities class action lawyer, is reportedly planning to leave the San Diego firm, Lerach Coughlin, that he founded three years ago in a split from New York-based Milberg Weiss. In recent weeks Lerach has been waging a very public campaign urging the SEC to file an amicus brief to persuade the Supreme Court to accept certiorari in a case seeking to impose liability on investment banks who entered deals with Enron. The Fifth Circuit dismissed the charges saying that at most, the banks were aiders and abettors. The big question is whether Lerach's departure (if indeed the report is correct) is related to the federal investigation into both the Lerach and Milberg firms involving kickbacks to named plaintiffs in class actions. Neither Lerach nor his firm has been indicted; Milberg Weiss and two of its partners have been indicted and have been engaged in talks with prosecutors. See NYTimes, Top Lawyer, Under Fire, May Depart; WSJ, Milberg Weiss Held Talks On Settling Criminal Case.