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LOS ANGELES � More than 20 lawyers have filed objections to a $49 million class action settlement with the owner of BAR/BRI, the nation’s largest provider of bar review courses. The antitrust action, filed in 2005, alleged that West Publishing Corp., which owns BAR/BRI, and Kaplan Inc., which sells preparation courses for the Law School Aptitude Test (LSAT), conspired to monopolize both markets. Under the settlement, about $36 million of the settlement would be distributed to a potential class of 300,000 current and former law students. The settlement would award each class member about $125. A final settlement hearing is set for June 18. The case originally said students were overcharged by $1,000 each and sought triple an estimated $300,000 in damages. “The recovery was a little bit low for absent class members, given what we believed was the strength of the case,” said Ben Nutley, a partner at Pasadena, Calif.-based Kendrick & Nutley, who represents seven objectors. He estimated that more than 20 lawyers have filed objections in the case. Nutley recommended in court papers that the judge eliminate McGuireWoods and its former partner who brought the case, Eliot Disner, from serving as lead counsel in the case. He suggested that his firm and Los Angeles-based Howarth & Smith replace them. In May, McGuireWoods ousted Disner from the firm after he filed briefs on behalf of three named plaintiffs who are objecting to West Publishing’s portion of the settlement. The settlement, reached in February, came after McGuireWoods, based in Richmond, Va., acquired Disner’s Los Angeles-based firm, Van Etten Suzumoto & Becket. Disner had asked to serve as co-lead counsel in the case and sought access to certain case files at McGuireWoods. U.S. District Court Judge Manuel Real, of the Central District of California, denied that request yesterday. At the hearing, Real questioned why Disner did not object to the settlement during the preliminary approval process. “I’m concerned of your question of conflict of interest,” he said. “I’m very concerned.”

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