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In a profile on famed, and fallen, San Diego securities attorney William Lerach, the Los Angeles Times today said the lawyer keep at his brand of law up until the end of his criminal ordeal.

The paper says:

As he negotiated the deal that would send him to prison and seal his disgrace, the king of class actions was still working the system.

William S. Lerach, in agreeing to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy in connection with a kickback scheme that paid people to serve as plaintiffs in lawsuits, insisted that the firm he founded in San Diego in 2004 be shielded from prosecution.

Its reputation as a litigator of class-action suits against what Lerach once called the “dishonorable and despicable greed” of corporate America could be preserved. Maybe a little of his own reputation would be too.

The article then goes on to describe Lerach’s rise to shareholder hero and corporate menace. This quote was especially revealing:

Norman Blears, a Menlo Park, Calif., lawyer, said his clients took the Lerach factor seriously.

“For those of us who represented corporations and directors, we would get questions phrased not in terms of, ‘Is this going to be a problem with the SEC?,’ or, ‘Is this going to be a technical violation of the law?,’ but, ‘If we do this, is it going to end up on Lerach’s radar screen?’ ” Blears said. “I remember him telling people that this wasn’t just some corporate issue that was going to go away. He was going to cause them to feel personal pain.”

ANDREW DONOHUE

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