"Let us realize the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice."
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

What is “lead counsel” or “class counsel”?

The “lead counsel” or “class counsel” is simply the law firm, or lawyer, that prosecutes a class action on behalf of the class members. Class counsel represents the lead plaintiff but also has a fiduciary duty to look after the best interests of the class members. In a class action for securities fraud in the U.S., the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act requires class counsel to publish a public notice within 20 days after filing a securities fraud class action complaint. The purpose of the notice is to inform other investors that the lawsuit was filed and to give them 90 days to ask the court to appoint them to be lead plaintiff. If an investor that suffered a large amount of losses moves the court to appoint it as the lead plaintiff in a pending class action lawsuit over securities fraud, then the court will appoint that investor as lead plaintiff in charge of the securities fraud class action if it suffered losses that are larger than the initial complainant or any other investor that makes a similar motion to the court within 90 days.

In addition to representing the class, the lead plaintiff also selects lawyers to represent itself and the class. If it wishes, the lead plaintiff can select lawyers known for their honesty or lawyers that promise not to ask the court for more than a modest fee in the event of settlement; this is important because some lead counsel are now asking U.S. courts to pay them over $3,000 per hour, out of a class settlement fund, for their work on behalf of a class. RJ Gaudet & Associates has reasonable rates and will charge far less, leaving the savings to the class and the lead plaintiff. Although the lead plaintiff may choose its own lawyers, A U.S. court later decides whether to appoint those lawyers as lead counsel or class counsel in charge of prosecuting the class action based on experience, ethical standards, and abilities.