In 2018, most of the cases types handled by the plaintiff firms was related to securities class action settlements whereas in year 2009 the number of securities class action lawsuits declined.
CHANGES IN THE plaintiff's lawyer or firm
- According to Stuart Grant of Grant & Eisenhofer; the Delaware shareholder litigation firm, in recent years “there’s definitely been a shift of who is been bringing these cases.” Additionally, there have been fewer promising cases recently, because the stock market has been mostly rising over the last few years and the increased vigilance of audit firms.
- Stuart Grant stated that in the past few years' law advances have been substantially reversed, especially in the Delaware’s Supreme Court due to "erected ever-higher barriers to shareholder claims against corporations and their boards, particularly with respect to mergers and acquisitions.
- In addition, Grant claimed that it seems to be the end of appraisal claims and arbitrage for now.
- According to Steven Vasilaros, a personal injury plaintiff attorney in Florida “Technology changed the entire landscape”. Vasilaros said plaintiff firms have seen the largest change recently in the ability of lawyers to advertise using technology which has made the plaintiff field more manageable and raised the quality of legal services to all clients.
- A 2012 LexisNexis report stated that Boris Feldman; a plaintiff firm claimed there have been changes in the plaintiffs' bar where in 2012 "there was a rise in multi-jurisdiction litigation, proliferation of demand letters, the rise of derivative litigation paralleling shareholder class action lawsuits along with the trend of automatic filing of litigation when a merger is announced and the rise in actions under Section 220 of the Delaware Code."
- The current United States administration has presented challenges for plaintiff-side attorneys where in various cases Trump has intervened to engage in frivolous, retaliatory litigation. In addition, there was a noticeable reduction in class action lawsuits in 2017.
- Also, there is likely to be more discussions on the fate of the Further Asbestos Claim Transparency Act "which requires public disclosures of payments made to plaintiff’s by the trusts that pay out asbestos exposure claims made against bankrupt companies" and restrictions on the transfer of federal cases to state courts.
- Plaintiff firms have faced recent changes in plaintiff laws and reforms wherein changes to the threshold for motor vehicle accident claims are changing the landscape. Additionally, the government applied a deductible to claims that meet a threshold of $30,000 as at Aug. 1, 2015. However, the threshold has increased each year because of inflation.
Types of cases being handled AND CHANGES IN IT FROM PAST YEARS
- The size of securities class action settlements rose significantly in 2018 compared to recent years.
- The ISS Securities Class Action Services report states that the type of cases being handled by most plaintiff attorney's in 2018 includes "allegations of the employment of manipulative or deceptive practices, allegations relating to merger transactions, civil liabilities based on alleged false registration statements, allegations pertaining to GAAP reporting, initial public offerings, and public offerings."
- In year 2009, the number of securities class action lawsuits declined and the media claimed this is because the plaintiffs are "running out of people to sue." Also, it was observed that because of diminished volatility in the stock market, plaintiff lawsuit fillings have reduced.
- Most the cases that were handled in 2009 related to the backlog of cases for corporate litigation.
- In 2017, the number of cases related to securities suit settlements by the plaintiff firms was reduced. In 2017, the aggregate amount of monetary shareholder recoveries was $2.1 billion compared to $7 billion recovered in 2016 and this was the lowest yearly total in more than 10 years.
How plaintiff's firms come to take on certain cases/class actions
- According to Steven Vasilaros, in recent times more liberty is available for the lawyers to take by cases by advertising themselves and the advent of legal advertising has clearly revolutionized the legal world.
- The ISS Securities top ranked plaintiff firm; Bernstein, Litowitz law firm advertises its expertise in securities litigation and presents its latest awards & recognition, and customer testimonials within its corporate brochure. Additionally, the company's website presents its past success track records from more than 20 years in the area of securities litigation.
- Another ISS Securities top ranked plaintiff firm; Pomerantz, promotes its notable success records on their website related to achievements in securities litigation along with there settled cases details.
Insights regarding plaintiff law firm focus areas
- The ISS Securities Class Action Services report presented two law firms whose total 2018 securities class action lawsuit settlements exceeded $1 billion; Pomerantz law firm with total of $3.272 billion in plaintiff settlements and Bernstein, Litowitz, with $1.351 billion in plaintiff settlements.
- The focus areas of Pomerantz law firm are "securities litigation, antitrust litigation, corporate governance, and portfolio monitoring case evaluation."
- The focus areas of Bernstein, Litowitz are "securities fraud litigation, corporate governance and shareholders rights litigation."
Insights related to the changes in the landscape of plaintiff's lawyer or firms, compared to the past and recent years were identified and presented here. However, particular statistics/data highlighting the percentage or number of changes relating to types of cases, focus area in the last 10 years could not be found.
In order to obtain the statistical data highlighting the evolution/changes in the plaintiff lawyer/firm, types of cases, and focus area, we started our research by looking through credible law reports from various legal news rooms and forums such as lexisnexis.com, dandodiary.com, and thelawyer.com. We also searched through media articles in sources such as entrepreneur.com, law.com, and CNBC. This search turned up relevant information for 2018, 2017 and 2009 but this information was very limited. The findings highlighted the types of cases being handled by the plaintiff lawyers in these years but did not provide enough hard statistics on how this has changed in the last 10 years.
We subsequently tried to locate research publications or reports by various law associations which might report on the changing landscape of the law fields including plaintiff. During this search, we looked at lawerlegion.com, americanbar.com, National Trial Lawyers, hg.org, and so on. Through this search, we found information related to plaintiff attorney and its scope of work along with certain changes in the lawsuits of Delaware. However, we were unable to find any relevant information related to the changes in the last 10 years in the plaintiff's lawyer or firm landscape.
Next, we tried to locate prominent plaintiff law firms and search through their official websites for any relevant information they might have published on the statistics or data related to the types or number of cases they held in the past 10 years along with other information relate how the changes have taken place. This search revealed that because these were private firms they did not publish any statistics, or present any related financial information.
Finally, we searched through law school or university sources such as abaforlawstudents.com, law.fsu.edu, law.umn.edu, and hls.harvard.edu. Most of the information that this search turned up related to the changes in the plaintiff lawyers practice area, the changing landscape of laws and reforms by change in the government structure in the United States. However, after an extensive search, we were still unable to find information related to the evolution of the plaintiff lawyers or firms.