Posted Nov 11, 2008 11:38 pm CST
Although he was then chairman of the firm, Michael Hausfeld apparently didn’t even know that his fellow partners at Cohen Milstein Hausfeld & Toll were holding a vote Nov. 6 about whether to expel a partner.
But after the vote, Bloomberg reports, a note on Hausfeld’s chair put him in the loop: He himself was no longer a member of the firm, it said.
The expulsion is forcing a split in the approximately 65-lawyer national plaintiffs litigation boutique at which Hausfeld, 62, has worked since 1971. He was the top antitrust lawyer at Cohen Milstein, and firm attorneys must now decide whether to stay or follow Hausfeld out the door, according to the news agency. Although the situation isn’t yet definite, it is expected that some 25 attorneys will follow him. (There are about 28 lawyers in Cohen Milstein’s antitrust group.)
As discussed in an earlier ABAJournal.com post, Hausfeld has already announced that he will open a new law firm under his own name. He is now working temporarily at Venable, in Washington, D.C., as he makes arrangements to open his new office there, Bloomberg notes.
His new firm will also have an office in London, Hausfeld tells the Wall Street Journal Law Blog.
The new Hausfeld firm is expected to focus its practice on antitrust law, international human rights, products liability and securities matters.
Although it might seem like a bad time to start a new law firm, given the current economic conditions, there is plenty of work for those in the right practice areas, Hausfeld told Law Blog:
“We’ve been getting increasing inquires by clients that have been injured by cartels and who are seeking to have us represent them in recoveries, not just in the United States, but in Europe, Asia, parts of Africa and Latin America. It’s an extremely exciting time. We’re pushing the limits of the law in terms of private enforcement and mass redress.”
Unspecified conflict between Hausfeld and other Cohen Milstein partners preceded the expulsion vote.
Related ABAJournal.com coverage:
Updated at 10:03 a.m. Nov. 14 to include link to related coverage.