Research Handbook on Representative Shareholder Litigation
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Research Handbook on Representative Shareholder Litigation

Edited by Sean Griffith, Jessica Erickson, David H. Webber and Verity Winship

Written by leading scholars and judges in the field, the Research Handbook on Representative Shareholder Litigation is a modern-day survey of the state of shareholder litigation. Its chapters cover securities class actions, merger litigation, derivative suits, and appraisal litigation, as well as other forms of shareholder litigation. Through in-depth analysis of these different forms of litigation, the book explores the agency costs inherent in representative litigation, the challenges of multijurisdictional litigation and disclosure-only settlements, and the rise of institutional investors. It explores how related issues are addressed across the globe, with examinations of shareholder litigation in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, the European Union, Israel, and China. This Research Handbook will be an invaluable resource on this important topic for scholars, practitioners, judges and legislators.
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Chapter 17: Lead plaintiffs and their lawyers: mission accomplished, or more to be done?

Stephen J. Choi and A.C. Pritchard

Abstract

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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