Bill Lerach, the San Diego attorney who rose to prominence filing shareholders lawsuits against major public companies, received a two year sentence today in federal court after pleading guilty earlier to obstructing justice and making secret payments as part of an alleged kickback scheme.

The Wall Street Journal‘s law blog has some good coverage of the case.

Here’s a nice snippet:

Lerach’s sentencing memorandum, essentially a 50-page plea for leniency, includes some interesting biographical details: his father lost an inheritance during the depression and struggled finacially; Lerach worked as a gofer at a funeral home and a laborer at a nursery, among other jobs during college and law school; and, he started his career at Reed Smith, making parter in five years; the shortest period of time in firm history, according to the brief.

But most notable are the more than 150 letters of support accompanying the filing (click here for one batch). The letter writers are an impressive and diverse group, including actor/columnist Ben Stein, Senator Carl Levin, consumer advocate Ralph Nader, law-firm heavyweights Brad Karp (Paul Weiss) and Greg Markel (Cadwalader), two attorneys who have represented Lerach in divorce matters, two of his drivers, and a gentleman who has serviced Lerach’s saltwater aquariums.


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