Securities Law

Ex-Milberg Lawyer Lerach Retires


Securities class action lawyer William Lerach is retiring amid rumors he is close to a plea deal related to kickbacks made to lead plaintiffs while he was a lawyer at Milberg Weiss.

Lerach is a name partner at California-based Lerach, Coughlin, Stoia, Geller, Rudman & Robbins, the firm he created in 2004. The firm will drop his name, the Recorder reports.

“I feel like, you know, I’ve worked a lifetime worth of work, so I’m ready to travel, and do whatever I’m going to do,” he told the legal publication.

But in an e-mail to his law firm posted on the Wall Street Journal Law Blog, Lerach said he was retiring to resolve the investigation.

“Now that I have outlasted Karl Rove, John Ashcroft and Alberto Gonzales, it is time for me to retire,” he wrote. “As you know, I will be retiring in short order to resolve the investigation about alleged events at my former firm more than a decade ago—long before this firm was even a twinkle in the eye.”

Lerach characterizes his troubles as related to his stands against moneyed interests. “I’ve also always understood that when you spend decades challenging powerful interests, the powerful interests will fight back with a vengeance,” he wrote. “Sometimes when you take the bull by the horns, you get gored.”

Milberg Weiss has been indicted along with two of its partners in the alleged scheme to pay kickbacks to lead plaintiffs to help secure lead counsel status in securities class actions. Former Milberg partner David Bershad has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to pay kickbacks, and another partner has pleaded not guilty.

Lerach has not been charged but is said to be discussing a plea with prosecutors.

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