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Securities class action behemoth Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach may be on the cusp of breaking up. Famed partner William Lerach was quoted in the Houston Chronicle as saying the firm is “restructuring,” but the New York office said early Wednesday that the firm had not split. According to lawyers familiar with the firm, Lerach and New York partner Melvyn Weiss are feuding. But both men are saying publicly that animosity is not underlying recent discussions about breaking the firm into two competing outfits. Instead, Lerach cited difficulties in managing a 220-lawyer firm that receives most of its revenue from contingency fees. Weiss told The New York Times that the firm’s plans to split are tentative, though he said that the “probability is that there will be two separate entities in the long run.” Partners in Milberg Weiss’ San Francisco office could not be reached, but if a split occurs the office would likely remain with Lerach’s San Diego-based operation.

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