WSJ's Latest Lerach Attack

Even though he has been driven from the practice of law, Bill Lerach, whom I recently profiled for Voice of San Diego, remains one of the conservative movement’s leading bogeymen.

Until he was sentenced to prison, Lerach struck fear in the heart of corporate America by extracting costly settlements from the nation’s biggest companies. He recently completed his sentenced and retired to his La Jolla mansion.

Today’s editorial “A Bill Lerach Tax Cut” finds the Journal in a lather over a report that the U.S. Treasury Department planned to give lawyers a tax break over contingency fee lawsuits.

Such a tax break would effectively subsidize the up-front costs of litigation for the the “zillionaire likes of felons Dickie Scruggs, Mel Weiss, and Bill Lerach,” the Journal writes.

These include San Diego firms such as Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd, Lerach’s old firm, and Robbins Umeda that file shareholder derivative lawsuits and securities class actions. Firms that do this work on contingency, which means they are paid out of a settlement at the conclusion of the case.

The report Wednesday in LegalNewsline.com cited unnamed sources at a meeting of the trial lawyer’s association in Vancouver, Canada.

The Treasury Department declined comment “on speculation about any potential administrative rulings.”

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