Securities class action lawyers are having a bad year, according to a NERA Economic Consulting’s year-end report. It’s been seven years since the these lawyers have seen their fees and expenses at such a low level—totaling only $594 million so far this year. For comparison, last year’s fees exceeded $1.4 billion.

In 2004 it was even worse—with fees amounting to $480 million. In 2001, they came in at $530 million.

NERA says the drop could be due to lower settlement amounts and fewer settlements than in previous years. This year, settlements averaged $31 million, however in 2010, they averaged $108 million.

Read  more about NERA’s findings on the Wall Street Journal’s Law blog.