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Eliot Disner is out of a job, less than a week after court filings made public his objections to the $49 million settlement negotiated by his firm, McGuireWoods, in an antitrust class action against the parent company of BAR/BRI, the nation’s largest provider of bar review courses. Disner, who was a partner in the Los Angeles office of McGuireWoods, said that the firm fired him May 23. “I was terminated because [McGuireWoods] said that my work on the BAR/BRI case had hurt the [firm's] reputation,” Disner said. His concerns about the proposed settlement with West Publishing Corp., which offers BAR/BRI bar review courses nationwide, surfaced in an objection to the class settlement that was filed May 17 by three lead plaintiffs. (West Publishing is the exclusive third-party content provider for ALM Media Inc., the parent company of Legal Times.) William Allcott, a McGuireWoods spokesman and a partner in the firm’s Richmond office, declined to discuss the reasons for Disner’s termination. In February, McGuireWoods, representing a class of former BAR/BRI students, negotiated the $49 million settlement with West Publishing and Kaplan Inc., one of West’s marketing partners. A hearing before U.S. District Court Judge Manuel Real on whether the $49 million settlement will become final is scheduled for June 18. But on May 17, three of seven lead plaintiffs filed an objection to the settlement, attaching a 13-page brief written by Disner. Disner’s brief, which was not supported by McGuireWoods, argues that the firm ought to press for at least $400 million from West Publishing, as well as for the breakup of BAR/BRI. “The court needs to take note of what’s going [on]. I mean, a lawyer lost his job fighting for this suit,” says Lisa Gintz, one of the three plaintiffs opposing the settlement. Gintz, a solo practitioner in Baton Rouge, La., said that she would ask Disner to represent the three dissenters as counsel at the hearing next month.
Joseph Rosenbloom is a reporter for The American Lawyer , an ALM publication.

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