Glendale Federal’s $909 million verdict against the government earlier this month sent an unambiguous message: Many of the financial institutions and millionaire investors burned by the savings-and-loan bailout in of the 1980s are poised to now make the federal government pay a heavy price.

But while the California thrift’s April 9 victory in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims received wide notice, little attention has been paid to a key factor in the bank’s success: the sophisticated collaboration among lawyers representing plaintiffs in Glendale and about 120 other related cases.