NOTES ON THE LAW PRACTICE AT SCHAEFFER & LAMERE . . . Yesterday I settled a class action--specifically, the case for which I went to Atlanta a few weeks ago to take three depositions. (The "Random Notes" from that trip, by the way, were what started me thinking about changing this weblog's posting style.)
In a personal injury case, it only takes about a month from settlement to the time the plaintiff signs a release and gets his settlement money. In a class action, by contrast, the settlement is just the start of another long process: the parties must negotiate a lengthy agreement incorporating the terms of an earlier memorandum of understanding; must seek preliminary approval from the court; must supervise notice to the class in which class members can opt-out and objectors may emerge; and finally, after many months, must seek final approval of the settlement at a final approval hearing. (Strangely, the lawyers from both sides work closely together in the class-action settlement stage, after having fought huge battles for months or years.)
So even though I settled the case yesterday, there's still a lot of work ahead. Maybe I'll write some more about the process as it proceeds. It's not a bad case to write about. Not only will the class members receive 100% of their alleged damages, but just about everyone would agree, I think, that the attorneys fees are reasonable.
Finally, in a nakedly self-serving marketing plug for Schaeffer & Lamere, I'm happy to report that this marks our third class action settlement for firm clients in two years. The other two cases, which I filed in 2000, involved 400,000 and nearly 1 million class members respectively.
Not a bad track record, although tort actions--and specifically, mass tort actions-- remain my first love.