Lerach Ponders Planned Trip to Club Fed
The day after a federal judge gave William Lerach the maximum two-year prison sentence possible under a plea deal, a front-page Wall Street Journal profile reports that the once-mighty plaintiffs securities lawyer still feels his overall legacy as an attorney is one to be proud of.
Despite his conviction and expected disbarment, Lerach still sees himself as a champion of corporate compliance with securities laws, the article explains (sub. req.). “I hope that no matter how hostile Congress and the courts are to investors,” he tells the newspaper, “there will always be lawyers like me with the guts to stand up to them.”
As discussed in earlier ABAJournal.com and ABA Journal coverage, Lerach is among three former Milberg Weiss partners who have been sentenced in a claimed law firm scheme to pay $11.3 million in illegal kickbacks to lead plaintiffs in securities class actions. However, the firm itself, which is facing unprecedented criminal charges in the ongoing case, and name partner Melvyn Weiss have both pleaded not guilty. Lerach had hoped for a shorter sentence than the two-year maximum he received, and even offered to teach a law school ethics course.
With a reported $200 million in career earnings, Lerach apparently may not have to worry about finding another job once he serves his time, even though he is being required to pay $8 million in fines and restitution as part of his sentence.
“My notion is that I’ll keep to myself, read, serve my time and come out,” he says. “It’s a punishment, I’ll endure it, it’ll be over and I’ll go on with my life.”