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Federal Judge Orders Class Counsel to Try for More Diverse Legal Team

Posted Sep 23, 2010 9:45 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A federal judge is apparently disappointed with the makeup of the legal team of two securities law firms serving as co-lead counsel in a pending class action.

U.S. District Judge Harold Baer of New York issued an unusual order on Monday urging two law firms to assign at least one female and one minority lawyer to the matter. The American Lawyer has the story and links to the order (PDF). The targeted law firms are Labaton Sucharow and Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd.

"This proposed class includes thousands of participants, both male and female, arguably from diverse backgrounds, and it is therefore important to all concerned that there is evidence of diversity, in terms of race and gender, in the class counsel I appoint," Baer wrote. “It is hereby ordered that co-lead counsel … shall make every effort to assign to this matter at least one minority lawyer and one woman lawyer with requisite experience.”

According to the American Lawyer, “the time was a little strange.” Baer appointed the firms as lead counsel two years ago, and an unopposed motion for a preliminary settlement is pending.

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