Professor Coffee writes:

Given this decline in both filings and settlements, how will private enforcers survive? One answer is that they are moving into related fields. A few (most notably, Grant & Eisenhofer) are specializing in representing opt outs. Others are pursing LIBOR cases, which may not involve any securities law claims. Many smaller firms seem to be specializing in “M&A” class actions in state court.

Why then is the “M&A” field so overpopulated with 5.4 lawsuits for every deal in 2012? The answer probably lies in the fact that the smaller law firm does not need a large institutional client in order to become class counsel in M&A cases. Institutional lead plaintiffs are the ticket of admission for securities class actions in federal court, but not in state court.

If we look not to the aggregate amounts recovered, but to the median and average settlement size, we find that the median settlement in securities class actions rose from \$5.9 million in 2011 to \$10.2 million in 2012―a significant 70% increase.[ix] … From this perspective, the deterrent threat may be growing (but this ignores that the likelihood of a suit has declined, as the number of filings has fallen significantly).

The SEC has become significantly more active in three categories: (1) insider trading cases …; (2) Ponzi schemes …; and (3) financial services misrepresentations and misappropriations ….

via The CLS Blue Sky Blog



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