Opting Out: More than two dozen major institutional funds have opted out of the Countrywide Financial Corp. class action settlement, leaving plaintiffs' lawyers scrambling to remake the deal, Amanda Bronstad reports. The lawyers, working on behalf of Countrywide shareholders, obtained the $624 million settlement last year. Attorneys in the case are due in court Feb. 25 to seek final approval of the deal.
Big Bankruptcies, Fees: Several massive bankruptcies are continuing to generate big fees for attorneys, Sheri Qualters writes in a special report on Corporate Restructuring and Bankruptcy.
Litigation Funding: The American Bar Association is reviewing the extent to which information shared with alternative litigation funders is protected from discovery, Nate Raymond reports. Popular in Australia and in the United Kingdom, litigation funding is relatively new in the United States. Litigation funders argue that privilege should cover them in the same way discussions with an insurer are generally protected.
Power Authority: Jenna Greene profiles Department of Energy General Counsel Scott Blake Harris, who is stepping down next month. Harris took over as general counsel in May 2009. Under his watch, the GC's office issued the first subpoenas in department history and began enforcing energy efficiency regulations for the first time.
Seeking Payback: Greenberg Traurig is demanding former Jack Abramoff business partner Michael Scanlon pay more than $17 million to the firm in restitution for its payment to Native American tribes bilked in a fraud scheme. Scanlon's lawyers have objected to reimbursing the firm, arguing Greenberg is not a direct victim and that the firm had contemporaneous knowledge of fees Scanlon was paying to Abramoff, a former Greenberg lobbyist in Washington.