So, unless you live under a rock, you’ve probably heard that JP Morgan lost some money last week. And, as one might expect, with a $2 billion loss, lots of people have opinions. One of those is Yale Law Professor Jonathan Macey, who wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (behind a paywall) worrying that, since both the SEC and the Department of Justice has launched an investigation into the loss, the Obama administration was turning losing money into a federal crime. (WSJ Law Blog summary here.) Professor Macey is a very smart man. But he also has never spent time as a litigator. (Go ahead, check; I’ll wait.) And I think, in this case, that shows.

See, here’s the thing. While Professor Macey is very worried, I’m not sure that JP Morgan’s executives are complaining about either the SEC’s or DOJ’s investigations. I’m sure they’re not celebrating them, but there’s have good reason to welcome the investigations at this point.

Let’s leave aside for a moment the fact that JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon already said he was expecting regulators to sniff around (because that was, in fact, their job). That might just be diplomacy.

But it’s also a great way to reduce JP Morgan’s eventual legal exposure from any lawsuits. JP Morgan’s stock went down once the loss was announced. (To be expected.) And that meant securities lawsuits would soon follow.  In fact, Thompson/Reuters legal reporter Alison Frankel immediately asked what the over-under would be for filing the first class action

It wasn’t long. As of this post, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP and Bernstein Liebhard have both announced class actions against JP Morgan. (This once again calls into question the deterrence justification for these lawsuits; to say that JP Morgan needs more deterrence than a $2 billion loss to tighten its practices stretches credulity. If deterrence is the name of the game, these firms should be looking for the next JP Morgan, not suing this one.)

One of the best ways to inoculate against those class actions is to let the regulators in to give the firm a clean bill of health. If a clean bill of health is not possible (and it may not be, see Dealbook’s analysis here), better to negotiate a settlement with the government than with lawyers who will take a 33% cut for themselves. If JP Morgan works with the government, it has an excellent rhetorical argument against fast-tracking a class action (why duplicate government effort?) and a good doctrinal argument against certifying the class (the class action would not be superior to the government investigations). That’s not making it a crime to lose money, that’s using the legitimacy of the DOJ to buttress the legitimacy of JP Morgan when it needs to defend civil lawsuits. If the DOJ and JPM’s C-suite both contain smart people (and they clearly do), then they’ll take advantage of this situation–the DOJ (and perhaps the SEC) to show that they’re on the case when something is rotten on Wall Street, and JP Morgan to show that government action is enough.