William Lerach is a lawyer who specialized in private securities class action lawsuits. The $7.12 billion he obtained as the lead plaintiff’s attorney in the case against Enron is currently the largest sum ever recovered in a group of securities class-action lawsuits in U.S. history. Following the bankruptcy of Enron, Lerach was the lead attorney who sued banks, law firms, accounting firms and related entities involved in the fraud.
About 75% of the class action suits filed and led by Lerach typically brought charges of insider trading, stock fraud and stock manipulation against corporate officers and directors of the largest corporations in the US. Over his legal career, Lerach was the lead counsel in recovering approximately $45 billion on behalf of defrauded shareholders.
Lerach was involved in many securities class action and corporate derivative suits in recent years, including Enron, Dynegy, Qwest, WorldCom, Citibank, Drexel Burnham, Tyco, Merrill Lynch, Bank of America, Disney, Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse First Boston, Global Crossing, AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, Apple Computer, ExxonMobil, R.J. Reynolds, Arthur Andersen, and AOL Time Warner.
Lerach earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of Pittsburgh. The University of Pittsburgh bestowed one of its highest awards on Lerach, designating him a “Legacy Laureate” reserved for the University’s most outstanding graduates.
In August 2002, The Nation published a cover story by William Greider featuring Lerach with the title “Is This America’s Top Corporate Crime Fighter?”