Prominent plaintiffs’ firms sought government bailout to stay afloat

Several prominent plaintiffs’ law firms, known for striking large settlements with companies like German carmaker Volkswagen AG (VOWG_p.DE) and Equifax Inc, were approved for loans that totaled tens of millions of dollars in government aid meant to help small businesses stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic.

San Francisco-based Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, which has 100 lawyers and bills itself on its website as “among the largest law firms in the United States that only represent plaintiffs” was approved to receive between $2 million and $5 million under the Paycheck Protection Program, according to data released Monday by the U.S. Treasury Department and Small Business Administration.

Other prominent plaintiffs’ firms that were approved for government aid include Motley Rice, Morgan & Morgan and Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, according to a review of the government data by Reuters.

U.S. law firms have been hard hit by the pandemic and nearly 15,000 firms got the green light to receive up to $13.1 billion in federal loans.

Private law firms are not required to publicly disclose their finances.Unlike defense firms, which charge clients by the hour, plaintiffs’ lawyers in the United States largely work on a contingency basis and receive a cut of the final settlement.

And with many courts shuttered and jury trials on pause, settlements and attorney payouts have been delayed, according to plaintiffs’ lawyer Stuart Grant, the managing director of Bench Walk Advisors, a litigation finance group.

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