A few weeks ago, I received a copy of the Fourth Edition of Class Actions & Other Multi-Party Litigation in a Nutshell in the mail. Since this is one of the "go-to" references for many practitioners, it seems worth discussion whether it’s worth the investment to pick up the new edition.

A few disclaimers before I start. I received this copy without paying for it, presumably so I would review it. Dean Robert Klonoff was kind enough to provide a nice blurb for the first edition of the Class Action Playbook.  (That said, it hasn’t stopped me from disagreeing Continue Reading

Back over the summer, I was approached to blurb Paul Karlsgodt’s now-published World Class Actions: A Practitioner’s Guide to Group and Representative Actions around the Globe, which I did happily. Here’s the text of the blurb:

World Class Actions is a comprehensive and practical look at everything a class-action litigator needs to know about mass litigation in other countries. In an increasingly globalized world, this is a book no international lawyer should be without.

That was the two sentences that would fit on the back of a book cover, and I meant every word. This, however, is a (long-overdue) … Continue Reading

Anyone who writes or talks about negotiation strategy eventually has to address Getting to Yes.  It’s the 800 pound gorilla in the negotiation field, and it has produced a vocabulary that, while occasionally jargony and unwieldy, is in constant use. Far more importantly, it contains some outstanding advice on how to negotiate in almost any context, even with difficult counterparties.

So, assuming that you’ve never read the book, what’s it about? Getting to Yes advocates a method known as "principled negotiation." As the authors describe it, principled negotiation:

suggests that you look for mutual gains wherever possible,

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Last month, I received a flurry of email from various people who wanted to point me towards Mark Herrrman’s column on Above the Law, "Torpedoing Class Actions." In that column, Herrmann reviewed Martin Redish’s 2009 book Wholesale Justice, which argues that class actions are an unconstitutional delegation of state power to private lawyers. He also called class-action defense lawyers "derelict" and asked "Where is the practicing bar?" when it comes to advocating Redish’s arguments.

Where is the defense bar on these arguments? We’ve been here. I first took notice of Professor Redish’s book soon after I
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A few years ago, I attended an oral argument with a colleague. (He was there to argue a substantive motion in our case, I was there to take on the class-related issues.) It turned out we were in front of a hot bench that day: the judge clearly had formed several opinions of the case, and was not shy about peppering both plaintiff and defense counsel with questions–some seemingly out of left field–that forced each to justify his case. His approach clearly shook both sides a little. As we left without a decision on our motions, my colleague shook his … Continue Reading

For most class-action defense lawyers, dealing with the press is, while rare, a necessary evil. Plaintiffs’ firms have taken to issuing press releases whenever they file a complaint. However, for defendants, the media is usually a separate front, one that moves much faster than discovery, and one that offers more perils than payoffs. Moreover, outside of expensive PR firms, there are few sources of advice on how to deal with a case that attracts press attention.

Enter Kendall Coffey, a Florida lawyer who has been involved in some of the more high-profile cases of the last few decades, … Continue Reading

 This is a tough year to be entering law school. Tuition is more expensive than ever. The job market for entering lawyers is worse than ever. And the combination of technology and cost pressures is changing the legal profession in ways that even longtime veterans have trouble getting their heads around. It’s tough enough that the hot new legal blog is Professor Paul Campos’s Inside the Law School Scam.

When young pre-laws (or 0Ls, as some call them) have asked my advice over the last decade, I’ve usually cautioned them to think long and hard about law … Continue Reading

 The other week, fellow blogger (and ABA Blawg 100 writer) Russell Jackson sent me a copy of Verdict for the Defense: Fighting Jackpot Justice with Firewall Defense Strategies by Greenberg Traurig lawyer Rob Herrington.  (Which just goes to show – sending books to bloggers can work.)

Verdict for the Defense provides a practical take on class action and mass tort defense, written for businesspeople rather than lawyers. (And you can tell. While most class-action books are heavy on the footnotes and the citations, this one alludes to the legal rulings, and focuses more on actual advice.) Herrington focuses on … Continue Reading

Richard Nagareda’s object in Mass Torts in a World of Settlement, his only book-length theoretical work, was to show how settlements operate in a world in which aggregated litigation is common, and trial almost unheard of.

One of Nagareda’s primary observations is that settlements of mass torts are best handled by some administrative apparatus. In the meantime, the legal system is evolving to become more administrative in response to these mass torts.

Nagareda starts from the premise that mass torts deal with "generalized" wrongs. (He argues that this phenomenon arises largely from industrialization, which allows for both wide … Continue Reading

 "Hey man, I don’t practice law. I talk on the phone." — Richard Scruggs, on federal wiretap

This week, Class Action Countermeasures introduces another regular feature: book reviews. Once a month, I’ll be reviewing a book that has some relation to class action litigation. The primary purpose of the review will be to determine what class-action lawyers can learn that will assist them in formulating class-action defense strategies. (I’ve done this once or twice before.) First up is The Fall of the House of Zeus: The Rise and Ruin of America’s Most Powerful Trial Lawyer, by Curtis Wilkie.

The Continue Reading