Eliot Disner is out of a job, less than a week after court filings made public his objections to the $49 million settlement negotiated by his firm, McGuireWoods, in an antitrust class action against the parent company of BAR/BRI, the nation’s largest provider of bar review courses.
Disner, who was a partner in the Los Angeles office of McGuireWoods, said that the firm fired him May 23. “I was terminated because [McGuireWoods] said that my work on the BAR/BRI case had hurt the [firm’s] reputation,” Disner said. His concerns about the proposed settlement with West Publishing Corp., which offers BAR/BRI bar review courses nationwide, surfaced in an objection to the class settlement that was filed last week by three lead plaintiffs.
William Allcott, a McGuireWoods spokesman, declined to discuss the reasons for Disner’s termination. “All I can say is Disner is no longer with McGuireWoods,” said Allcott, a partner in the firm’s Richmond office.
In February, McGuireWoods, representing a class of former BAR/BRI students, negotiated the $49 million settlement with West Publishing and Kaplan Inc., one of West Publishing’s marketing partners. A hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Manuel Real on whether the $49 million settlement will become final is scheduled for June 18.
Under the terms of the settlement, about $36 million of the total would be distributed among up to 300,000 law school graduates who took the BAR/BRI course between 1997 and 2006. That translates into about $125 for each member of the class. The balance would go for roughly $12 million in lawyers’ fees and $1 million in litigation expenses. West Publishing would pay $36 million, and Kaplan would contribute $13 million. But on May 17 three of seven lead plaintiffs filed an objection to the settlement, attaching a 13-page brief written by Disner.