March 9, 2021

Economix: Legal Payday



Notions on high and low finance.

My column this week concerns a class-action lawsuit on behalf of investors damaged by the collapse of Lehman Brothers. The defendants include Lehman’s former officers and directors, as well as its auditor and 51 investment banks that underwrote Lehman securities.

I don’t know how much, if anything, the investors will eventually get, although the fact that Judge Lewis A. Kaplan of United States District Court refused to dismiss a large part of the case may make settlements more likely.

Nor do I know how much will be collected in legal fees. The plaintiffs’ lawyers are typically paid only if they prevail, but the defense lawyers are presumably being paid by the hour.

I count 42 lawyers — 12 for the plaintiffs and 30 for the defendants — who have filed appearances in the case. There may, of course, be more lawyers working on the case back at the office. You can only imagine the fees being collected when the judge holds a hearing.

For the plaintiffs:

Bernstein Litowitz Berger Grossmann (six lawyers filed appearances with the court)

Barroway Topaz Kessler Meltzer Check. (six)

For various defendants:

Allen Overy (two)

Boies, Schiller Flexner (two)

Fried Frank Harris Shriver Jacobson (two)

Kasowitz Benson Torres Friedman (two)

Simpson Thacher Bartlett (four)

Cleary Gottleib Steen Hamilton (three)

Gibson, Dunn Crutcher (three)

Willkie Farr Gallagher (one)

Proskauer Rose (four)

Dechert (three)

Latham Watkins (four)

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