Two partners at a top New York law firm have taken a leave of absence amid a federal investigation into whether it paid illegal kickbacks to clients in multimillion dollar class-action lawsuits.
The departures of David Bershad and Steven Schulman (pictured) were announced Monday by Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach.
The U.S. Justice Department has been investigating the firm for nearly six years. The case is currently before a federal grand jury in Los Angeles.
In a memo circulated to firm employees Tuesday, Bershad said his decision to leave was mutually agreed upon with the company’s management and that he would be available at its request to represent clients.
“I am taking this step in the belief that my action will improve the firm’s chances to avoid unfounded charges that would be detrimental,” said Bershad, who joined the firm nearly 40 years ago.
The departures come almost a month after businessman Howard Vogel pleaded guilty in Los Angeles to taking more than $2.4 million as payments to him and his family for serving as plaintiffs in a number of suits dating to the 1990s. Two other people also have been indicted in the case.