During several weeks late last year — when some crucial legal decisions affecting not only Bank of America Corp. shareholders but the nation’s economic system were being made — the bank fired its general counsel and replaced him with Brian Moynihan, a business executive who hadn’t practiced law in years. And he wasn’t even actively licensed as a lawyer at the time he was named.

“How were the legal interests of the bank being protected?” asks one source close to a federal investigation into the bank’s actions. “The shareholders who are filing suits against the bank [for failing to disclose certain facts] might want to ask that question.”

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