Law Firms

Milberg Changes Name, Fights On

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Milberg Weiss & Bershad has changed its name to simply Milberg Weiss following a guilty plea by ex-partner David Bershad.

Now Bershad will cooperate in the investigation of the embattled firm, which is accused of paying kickbacks to lead plaintiffs in securities class action suits. The firm has been indicted along with another ex-partner, Steven Schulman.

The plea agreement has new details about Partners “A” and “B,” believed to be Melvyn Weiss and William Lerach, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports. A statement of facts (PDF) contends Partners A and B and three other unnamed lawyers participated in the conspiracy to pay kickbacks with Bershad and Schulman. Neither Weiss nor Lerach has been indicted, although the government offered plea deals to both of them, the newspaper says. Their lawyers did not return phone calls.

Lerach left Milberg in 2004 and formed his own firm in San Diego. He says he is considering retirement. Schulman is seeking dismissal of the charges against him.

Milberg Weiss issued a statement saying Bershad has been fired, the New York Times reports. Bershad went on leave after his indictment in May 2006. “We remain confident that his actions will have no effect on the firm’s commitment to its clients and its ongoing work to protect public shareholders and consumers,” according to the statement.

Bershad pleaded guilty to one count of conspiracy to conceal the kickback from judges. He agreed to forfeit $7.75 million and pay a $250,000 fine. (See this previous post for details.)

He joined the law firm soon after it was formed in 1965 by Weiss and the late Lawrence Milberg, the New York Law Journal reports.

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