And maybe big business should be scared of him. Coffey, a talented litigator, not only helped win one of the largest securities class-action settlements — $6.15 billion — for investors in WorldCom Inc., he has also hunted Soviet submarines and drug lords in Columbia in a Navy spy plane.
Coffey’s opportunity arises from the indictment on Thursday of Weiss’ securities class action law firm, Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman LLP, by a federal grand jury on fraud conspiracy and other charges related to an alleged kickbacks scheme.
That has led to questions about the survival of the most prominent class-action law firm. Also, both Weiss and Lerach, who was Weiss’ partner before splitting off to set up his own firm in 2004, could eventually face charges, according to a source close to the investigation.
Milberg Weiss will have a hard time hanging on to its attorneys and clients as the government’s investigation proceeds, so the business may be ripe for the picking, legal experts said.
Although Coffey, 49, initially planned a career in the Catholic priesthood or military, he eventually wound up as one of the high-profile partners at the New York firm of Bernstein, Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, where he has since helped recover $15 billion for shareholders.