Many lawyers are involved in handling banks like the Bank of America’s subpar residential mortgage-backed securities work.  Apart from Bank of America, there hav ebeen JP Morgan Chase, who paid $13 billion in a megasettlement.  However, for the law firms involved in the “RMBS” work, it is now tailing off with the big fish settling big claims.

American Lawyer spoke with some counsel about the work.

. . five lawyers at the banks’ primary outside counsel, speaking on condition they not be named, say that the pipeline of work continues to be full, as governments worldwide take aim at the same banks in foreign exchange rate-setting and Office of Foreign Assets Control investigations.

American Lawyer reports that the big banks – the “whales” – are done.

“These are the huge ones, the whales,” says one senior bank lawyer. “There are some not insubstantial fish remaining, but just based on volume alone, it’s conceivable that there’s nothing nearly as huge left.”

Citigroup, which paid $7 billion to resolve its RMBS liability in June, had a substantially smaller market share of the securities than some of the banks that haven’t yet settled.

Unlike previous settlements, BofA declined to identify its outside counsel on the settlement announced Thursday. But two lawyers knowledgeable on the matter said that Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz’s  Meyer Koplow advised on the structure of the eventual deal. He could not be reached for comment at press time. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom and Williams & Connolly also provided legal counsel to BofA.

As the government clears its docket of RMBS cases, firms will ultimately see some drop-off in work, say several lawyers. The most likely to be affected besides Wachtell and Skadden are Sullivan & Cromwell, which has handled a significant part of the RMBS docket for JP Morgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs, Barclays, Nomura, UBS, First Horizon and a couple other banks; Davis Polk & Wardwell, which has advised Morgan Stanley on the same; Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, which handled Citigroup Inc.’s $7 billion settlement and related litigation; Cravath, Swaine & Moore for Credit Suisse; and Simpson Thacher & Bartlett, which advises Deutsche Bank, UBS and RBS, among others. (Skadden also represented RBS, UBS and Societe Generale for RMBS matters.)

A score of other firms have been handling some of the state and private RMBS cases, and those are also expected to wind down in the next year.

Wachtell has represented BofA in a variety of matters related to the financial crisis. Back in the dark days of September 2008, the firm famously advised the bank on the shotgun $50 billion all-stock acquisition of Merrill Lynch. Wachtell soon found itself in the crosshairs over the Merrill bonuses, as did other firms like Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Shearman & Sterling. BoA, dealing with an enraged Congress, waived its attorney-client privilege and turned over some of its internal memos on the matter.

Read more at the American Lawyer

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