Monday, July 18, 2005

Robin Hoods or Legal Hoods?
"Without notes he launched into a brief history of the American tort system and how crucial it was in protecting the masses from the greed and corruption of big corporations that make dangerous products. And, while he was at it, he didn't like insurance companies and banks and multinationals and Republicans, either."

- John Grisham, "The King of Torts"

THREE months ago, William S. Lerach, the powerful class-action attorney both feared and loathed in executive suites across the country, received a disturbing call from his lawyer. Federal prosecutors, Mr. Lerach was told, wanted more time to build a criminal case against him.

Until then, a three-year investigation into whether Mr. Lerach and his former New York law firm, Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman, had used illegal tactics in shareholder lawsuits that made him and the firm rich and famous had appeared to be dormant. The phone call meant that the inquiry had suddenly gained traction.