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Sentencing / Post-Conviction

Lerach Battles to Get Community Service Hours for Teaching Law Class at UC Irvine

Posted Aug 9, 2010 3:12 PM CDT
By Stephanie Francis Ward

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William Lerach, the federal felon and infamous securities lawyer who in 2007 pled guilty to conspiracy about an alleged kickback scheme, who completed the confinement portion of his sentence, and now wants to teach a class at the University of California, Irvine School of Law about free-market capitalism to fulfill his community service requirement.

A federal probation office rejected the proposal, on the basis that a law school is not a community service organization, like a church or a soup kitchen. Lerach, represented by the law firm of his former law partner Patrick Coughlin, filed a motion last month with the U.S. District Court of Central California, asking the court to overturn that decision. The case heads to court today, Politico's Under the Radar blog reported.

Lerach course is titled “Regulation of Free Market Capitalism—Are We Failing?” Lerach would receive a $3,000 stipend to teach the course, according to his filing, and that moneywould be donated back to the UCI Foundation. There are discussions about posting the lectures on YouTube for the sake of anyone who would want to audit the course.

Lerach’s filing notes that the law school is a nonprofit institution, and he has already performed more than 600 hours of community service for groups including the Southern California German Shepherd Rescue and the La Jolla Historical Society.

U.S. district court judge John F. Walter weighed the request today. André Birotte, Jr, the U.S. attorney for the Central District of California, did not take a position on whether the court should allow Lerach to teach the course, Main Justice reported. In an early filing, he noted that if the permission is granted, only Lerach’s time spent discussing ethics and his own missteps should count toward fulfilling the sentence’s community service requirements.

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