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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Yes, Melvyn, It's a Scandal (MORE, CLICK HERE)

The Felony Bar
The Wall Street Jounal, REVIEW & OUTLOOK - March 21, 2008 (Page A12)

In an earlier day, Melvyn Weiss would have called it a "scandal" that revealed something deeply corrupt about an entire industry. But yesterday the 72-year-old godfather of the "strike suit" bar was himself the latest tort lawyer to cop a felony plea that could land him 33 months in prison and $10 million in penalties.

Weiss's law firm, Milberg Weiss, promptly renamed itself plain old Milberg and issued a statement expressing shock and dismay that Weiss's original claims of innocence weren't credible after all. The firm itself is still under indictment, while Weiss joins Steven Schulman, David Bershad and Bill Lerach in the pantheon of former Milberg partners who have admitted wrongdoing in the kickback case. At this rate, they may need their own prison wing.

Weiss himself expressed "regret" for his actions and apologized to "all those who have been affected," although he seemed to have in mind mostly his former colleagues at the firm. There are of course others "affected" by the firm's scheme to gin up shareholder class-action suits via kickbacks to professional plaintiffs -- the companies that Weiss sued, often for nothing more than a declining share price. Perhaps some shareholder should sue Weiss and his firm on behalf of all the losers from their fraudulent class-action wealth-redistribution scheme.

Meanwhile, the silence from the usual corporate scolds is telling. In the wake of the felony admissions of Weiss and Lerach and last week's bribery plea by Dickie Scruggs, where are the cries in Congress to crack down on these wealthy wrongdoers who abused their positions of legal trust? Weiss's corner of the tort bar has enriched itself for decades on the backs of shareholders who took home a pittance while the lawyers became megamillionaires.

This might be the biggest pay disparity in the country -- that between class members and the lawyers who purportedly represent them. But you won't hear that from Democrats who bray about executive pay and the "little guy." The tort lawyers have seen to that by sharing a percentage of their riches, almost like a service fee, with the politicians who prevent any meaningful legal reform.


Anonymous said...

Mel baby you're pretty slick piece of work however it didn't work this time when they put you up against the wall. Will you be ordering kosher in the joint?

Anonymous said...

It's all one big gross scandal. But what upsets me most is that nothing is being done about it in NY.

Anonymous said...

I realize after being mauled by the system when I was seeking Justice that it's one big swamp with the lawyers in control of the whole system, theycontrol the whole thing, so tell me why would they want to change anything? Once in a great while they sacrifice one of their own to make it look good. We're the suckers, the prople that believed in the system!

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               Video of 1st Hearing on Court 'Ethics' Corruption
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