Max W. Berger

Partner
New York

Tel: +1 (212) 554-1403
Fax: +1 (212) 554-1444Download vCard

Mr. Berger, the firm’s senior founding partner, supervises BLB&G’s litigation practice and prosecutes class and individual actions on behalf of the firm’s clients.

He has litigated many of the firm's most high-profile and significant cases, and has negotiated seven of the largest securities fraud settlements in history, each in excess of a billion dollars:  Cendant ($3.3 billion); Citigroup–WorldCom ($2.575 billion); Bank of America/Merrill Lynch ($2.4 billion); JPMorgan Chase–WorldCom ($2 billion); Nortel ($1.07 billion); Merck ($1.06 billion); and McKesson ($1.05 billion).  In addition, he has prosecuted seminal cases establishing precedents which have increased market integrity and transparency; held corporate wrongdoers accountable; and improved corporate business practices in groundbreaking ways.

Most recently, before the #metoo movement came alive, on behalf of an institutional investor client, he handled the prosecution of an unprecedented shareholder derivative litigation against Fox News parent 21st Century Fox, Inc. arising from the systemic sexual and workplace harassment at the embattled network. After nearly 18 months of litigation, discovery and negotiation related to the shocking misconduct and the Board’s extensive alleged governance failures, the parties unveiled a landmark settlement with two key components: 1) the first ever Board-level watchdog of its kind – the "Fox News Workplace Professionalism and Inclusion Council" of experts (WPIC) – majority independent of the Murdochs, the Company and Board; and 2) one of the largest financial recoveries – $90 million – ever obtained in a pure corporate board oversight dispute.  The WPIC is expected to serve as a model for public companies in all industries.

Mr. Berger’s work has garnered him extensive media attention, and he has been the subject of feature articles in a variety of major media publications Unique among his peers, The New York Times highlighted his remarkable track record in an October 2012 profile entitled "Investors’ Billion-Dollar Fraud Fighter," which also discussed his role in the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Merger litigation.  In 2011, Mr. Berger was twice profiled by The American Lawyer for his role in negotiating a $627 million recovery on behalf of investors in the In re Wachovia Corp. Securities Litigation, and a $516 million recovery in In re Lehman Brothers Equity/Debt Securities Litigation.  Previously, Mr. Berger's role in the WorldCom case generated extensive media coverage including feature articles in BusinessWeek and The American Lawyer. For his outstanding efforts on behalf of WorldCom investors, The National Law Journal profiled Mr. Berger (one of only eleven attorneys selected nationwide) in its annual 2005 "Winning Attorneys" section. He was subsequently featured in a 2006 New York Times article, "A Class-Action Shuffle," which assessed the evolving landscape of the securities litigation arena.

One of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America”

Widely recognized for his professional excellence and achievements, Mr. Berger was named one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” by The National Law Journal for being “front and center” in holding Wall Street banks accountable and obtaining over $5 billion in cases arising from the subprime meltdown, and for his work as a “master negotiator” in obtaining numerous multi-billion dollar recoveries for investors. 

Described as a "standard-bearer" for the profession in a career spanning over 40 years, he is the 2014 recipient of Chambers USA’s award for Outstanding Contribution to the Legal Profession.  In presenting this prestigious honor, Chambers recognized Mr. Berger’s “numerous headline-grabbing successes,” as well as his unique stature among colleagues – “warmly lauded by his peers, who are nevertheless loath to find him on the other side of the table.”

Law360 published a special feature discussing his life and career as a “Titan of the Plaintiffs Bar,” and also named him one of only six litigators selected nationally as a “Legal MVP” for his work in securities litigation. 

For the past ten years in a row, Mr. Berger has received the top attorney ranking in plaintiff securities litigation by Chambers and is consistently recognized as one of New York's "local litigation stars" by Benchmark Litigation (published by Institutional Investor and Euromoney).  

Since their various inceptions, he has also been named a "leading lawyer" by the Legal 500 US Guide, one of "10 Legal Superstars" by Securities Law360, and one of the "500 Leading Lawyers in America" and "100 Securities Litigators You Need to Know" by Lawdragon magazine. Further, The Best Lawyers in America guide has named Mr. Berger a leading lawyer in his field.

Considered the “Dean” of the U.S. plaintiff securities bar, Mr. Berger has lectured extensively for many professional organizations, and is the author and co-author of numerous articles on developments in the securities laws and their implications for public policy. He was chosen, along with several of his BLB&G partners, to author the first chapter - “Plaintiffs’ Perspective” - of Lexis/Nexis’s seminal industry guide Litigating Securities Class Actions.   An esteemed voice on all sides of the legal and financial markets, in 2008 the SEC and Treasury called on Mr. Berger to provide guidance on regulatory changes being considered as the accounting profession was experiencing tectonic shifts shortly before the financial crisis. 

Mr. Berger also serves the academic community in numerous capacities.  A long-time member of the Board of Trustees of Baruch College, he is now the President of the Baruch College Fund.  A member of the Dean's Council to Columbia Law School, he has taught Profession of Law, an ethics course at Columbia Law School, and serves on the Advisory Board of Columbia Law School's Center on Corporate Governance. In May 2006, he was presented with the Distinguished Alumnus Award for his contributions to Baruch College, and in February 2011, Mr. Berger received Columbia Law School's most prestigious and highest honor, "The Medal for Excellence."  This award is presented annually to Columbia Law School alumni who exemplify the qualities of character, intellect, and social and professional responsibility that the Law School seeks to instill in its students.  As a recipient of this award, Mr. Berger was profiled in the Fall 2011 issue of Columbia Law School Magazine.

Mr. Berger is currently a member of the New York State, New York City and American Bar Associations, and is a member of the Federal Bar Council.  He is also a member of the American Law Institute and an Advisor to its Restatement Third: Economic Torts project.  In addition, Mr. Berger is a member of the Board of Trustees of The Supreme Court Historical Society.  

Mr. Berger lectures extensively for many professional organizations. In 1997, Mr. Berger was honored for his outstanding contribution to the public interest by Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, where he was a "Trial Lawyer of the Year" Finalist for his work in Roberts, et al. v. Texaco, the celebrated race discrimination case, on behalf of Texaco's African-American employees.

Among numerous charitable and volunteer works, Mr. Berger is an active supporter of City Year New York, a division of AmeriCorps, dedicated to encouraging young people to devote time to public service. In July 2005, he was named City Year New York's "Idealist of the Year," for his long-time service and work in the community. He and his wife, Dale, have also established The Dale and Max Berger Public Interest Law Fellowship at Columbia Law School and the Max Berger Pre-Law Program at Baruch College.

Education

  • Columbia Law School, 1971, J.D., Editor of the Columbia Survey of Human Rights Law
  • Baruch College-City University of New York, 1968, B.B.A., Accounting

Bar Admissions:

  • New York
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Second Circuit
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York
  • U.S. Supreme Court
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