Finding a lawyer: one key method

Just after I posted a piece about the Thomson Reuters “Super Lawyers” list — with criticisms and a warning not to rely exclusively on such a list when you’re looking for a lawyer — I read “Investors’ Billion-Dollar Fraud Fighter,” by Peter Lattman in the New York Times.

It reinforces one thought I’ve already mentioned here, when I discussed making and keeping a record even before you know you’ve got a lawsuit. I talked about clipping newspaper articles that mention lawyers pursuing cases in an area that reflects your own potential lawsuit.

The Times article, about a lawyer named Max W. Berger, clearly illustrates why. Berger’s specialty is class actions against security firms. The “classes” are shareholders who allege they have been defrauded. The article says

With last month’s settlement with Bank of America, which resolved claims that the bank had misled shareholders about its acquisition of an ailing Merrill Lynch, Mr. Berger, 66, has now been responsible for six securities class-action settlements of more than $1 billion.

So you read this article and you think,” This is a terrific lawyer if I have a securities lawsuit.” Yes, and you learn even more when you see these comments from Berger:

“It makes me sad that in all of these scandals, no matter how good a job we do of getting results and inflicting pain, the government doesn’t seem to follow suit, and nobody learns, and it’s business as usual…”

“I can’t predict the next scandal…But I know that fraud is a growth industry, and so is greed.”

So not only is he a fine lawyer, he is also acutely aware of politics, of why one of the reasons we need to sue is to send messages not only to the defendants, but also to our governments, that laws need to be strengthened or made. I keep referring to Lilly Ledbetter, because her lawsuit against Goodyear, which she lost, caused the Obama administration and Congress to produce the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

That’s what a lawsuit can accomplish, that’s what Mr. Berger is talking about.

And then, you read this in the Times, from a lawyer who has

…faced off against Mr. Berger in several other cases. “And what sets Max apart, beyond his talents as a lawyer is that he’s a mensch, a person of real humility and integrity.”

So a lawyer who lost a case to Berger praises him for integrity.

So if you’re a potential plaintiff, this is why you want to read newspaper and magazine articles about lawsuits and lawyers. You learn more about a lawyer from an article like this than you will from any “super lawyer” list, or any recommendation from your next-door neighbor or your cousin’s in-law.


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