• November 26, 2012

If you are a law student or are thinking about being one, you are probably thinking that you will need to choose between a criminal practice or a civil practice, either public interest/non-profit work, a government job, academia, or a private law firm, large, small, or solo.  But even within each of these subsets of the variety of possibilities is staggering.

The practice for very large plaintiffs-side class actions, for example, could hardly be more foreign to my civil litigation practice.  Plaintiffs’ side class action litigation seems primarily about diversification, cash-flow, jockeying, politics, complicated multi-multi-dimensional triangulation, and strategic positioning.

Overlaying the obvious uncertainty as to whether one has a meritorious legal claim, there is the question of how you will eat in the several years in which your class actions are pending.  There is the question of what percent of any recovery will go to you, as opposed to your fellow plaintiffs’ class action lawyers (not to speak of the large support teams at (or hired by) every class action law firm), all of whom, will want to maximize their recovery at your expense.  And, lest you forget, there is always the plaintiffs’ putative class, that is, the clients themselves.  One must not forget about them.

The Dryer v. National Football League is a large class action in which retired football players – through an army of class action lawyers – seek to recoup money that they allege is rightfully theirs but which the NFL has withheld from them.  The case has been pending before the United States District Court (District of Minnesota) for several years already now.

One of the clients, retired quarterback Dante “Dan” Anthony Pastorini, has recently sued “Interim Co-Lead and Liaison counsel” Michael Hausfeld and his firm, Hausfeld LLP in Texas state court arguing that Hausfeld has not held up to its obligations as Pastorini’s lawyer in several respects (failing to advance litigation-related costs and failing to communicate fully and adequately).

Pastorini’s complaint is lengthy and recites a litany of other scrapes that Hausfeld has allegedly been in during his career as a highly successful plaintiffs’ class action lawyer.

Without taking a position on any of Mr. Pastorini’s allegations, regardless of their truth or falsity, it is clear to me that the plaintiffs’ lawyers practice, their form of compensation (and its magnitude), and their experience of civil litigation is probably more foreign to me and my practice in Minnesota business litigation than my legal practice is to a shop-owner’s work in a remote and foreign country.  And that is fine by me.

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