New York, Los Angeles
Max, 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. Described by sources quoted in leading industry publication Chambers USA as "the smartest, most strategic plaintiffs' lawyer [they have] ever encountered," Max has secured some of the largest recoveries ever achieved in securities fraud lawsuits.
Max 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). 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, Max 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.
Max’s work has garnered him extensive media attention, and he has been the subject of feature articles in a variety of major media publications. 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, Max 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, Max'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 Max (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 as the “Dean” of the US plaintiff securities bar for his remarkable career and his professional excellence, Max has a distinguished and unparalleled list of honors to his name.
Max 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 Max to provide guidance on regulatory changes being considered as the accounting profession was experiencing tectonic shifts shortly before the financial crisis.
Max also serves the academic community in numerous capacities. A long-time member of the Board of Trustees of Baruch College, he served as the President of the Baruch College Fund from 2015-2019 and now serves as its Chairman. 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, Max 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, Max was profiled in the Fall 2011 issue of Columbia Law School Magazine.
Max 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, Max is a member of the Board of Trustees of The Supreme Court Historical Society.
In 1997, Max 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, Max is a significant and long-time contributor to Her Justice, a non-profit organization in New York City dedicated to providing pro bono legal representation to indigent women, principally battered women, in connection with the many legal problems they face. He is also 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 commitment to, service for, 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.