Over the past seven years, Milberg Weiss’ situation has been complicated by the fact that its decision makers were people whose own interests in the criminal probe sometimes didn’t align with the firm’s.

Several partners in the pre-split firm said that when Milberg Weiss’ California office broke off in 2004, the separation agreement guaranteed that Melvyn Weiss, David Bershad, Steven Schulman and California partners William Lerach and Patrick Coughlin would all have a say in how the firm responded to the ongoing criminal investigation.