Edited by Sean Griffith, Jessica Erickson, David H. Webber and Verity Winship
Chapter 17: Lead plaintiffs and their lawyers: mission accomplished, or more to be done?
This chapter evaluates the effectiveness of the lead plaintiff provisions in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. The empirical record shows that, in substantial measure, the PSLRA’s lead plaintiff provision has succeeded. Institutional investors have emerged as an important force in securities class actions. However, the competition among lawyers to serve as lead counsel has not been driven exclusively by price and quality of representation. The larger institutional investors that have most frequently agreed to serve as lead plaintiffs in securities class actions have been government-sponsored pension funds. The political influence over these funds raises suspicion that at least some class action law firms are buying lead counsel status with campaign contributions. This chapter reviews the empirical record and suggests specific reforms that might promote additional transparency and competition on price, as well as additional requirements for lead plaintiffs to further enhance the screening role played by the PSLRA.
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