Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Sharks Smell Blood in the Water

The fallout from the Milberg Weiss indictment continues to spread as other firms seek to lure away its partners and a remnant formed by former name partner William Lerach is accused of being linked to the misconduct.  An article in The Recorder (here) states that a San Francisco law firm is soliciting a number of Milberg Weiss partners to join it and, not surprisingly, bring along the securities class actions for which they are lead counsel.  The Lerach Coughlin firm, which broke off from Milberg Weiss in 2004, is the object of a motion to exclude its proposed lead plaintiff in a securities class action because of the firm's potential involvement in the government's continuing investigation related to payments to representative plaintiffs before Milberg Weiss split up.  The motion (here courtesy of the Securities Litigation Watch) states that appointment of Lerach Coughlin's proposed plaintiff would be "troubling, to say the least," and the competing lawyers are kind enough to attach a copy of the Milberg Weiss indictment -- as if it were unknown to the court.  The lawyers offer their plaintiff to serve as the lead plaintiff and themselves as suitable counsel, showing that the competition remains fierce in the securities class action world.  The indictment is barely a month old, and hardly a week goes by without a challenge to Milberg Weiss' (and now Lerach Coughlin's) representation in a case or partners announcing they are leaving the firm.  The momentum is unlikely to slow down in the near future, and could pick up if cooperating witnesses (or a defendant) are able to link former firm leaders Melvyn Weiss or William Lerach to the alleged improper payments. (ph)

Legal Ethics, Prosecutions, Securities | Permalink

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