Hausfeld founder exits chair role as new leaders step up

Michael Hausfeld, attorney for retired NFL players, speaks to media before entering a federal courthouse to resume court-ordered mediation regarding labor issues in Minneapolis
Michael Hausfeld (C), attorney for retired NFL players, speaks to media before entering a federal courthouse to resume court-ordered mediation regarding labor and revenue issues between the NFL and the NFL Players Association in Minneapolis. REUTERS/Eric Miller
  • Michael Hausfeld launched firm in 2008
  • Firm represents plaintiffs in antitrust, human rights litigation

Litigation firm Hausfeld said on Wednesday that Michael Hausfeld will leave his chair position in a major leadership change for the 13-year-old claimant firm he founded.

Hausfeld will become chair emeritus as Brian Ratner and Anthony Maton, current vice chairs, become global co-chairs effective Jan. 1, the firm said.

Washington, D.C., litigator Hausfeld is known for his work representing plaintiffs in antitrust, human rights and discrimination matters.

Major cases include representing a class of Holocaust victims in litigation against three Swiss banks and representing a class of basketball and football players in an antitrust case against the National Collegiate Athletic Association and its member institutions.

He also represented native Alaskans who were impacted by the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill and brokered a $176 million settlement in a racial discrimination case against Texaco Inc, according to the firm.

Before starting the 160-lawyer firm, Hausfeld was a name partner at what is now Cohen, Milstein, Sellers & Toll.

He was expelled from Cohen Milstein in 2008, taking a group of lawyers with him, following disagreements in the partnership about the firm's direction, according to media reports at the time.

Hausfeld's current firm disclosed in September 2019 he would later transition leadership duties and become chair emeritus.

The new joint co-chairs will work with Brent Landau, who remains Hausfeld's global managing partner, the firm said. Partners Melinda Coolidge and Lianne Craig will become Hausfeld's managing partners in the U.S. and London, respectively.

"There is a clearly younger group of very capable and talented professionals who are not only ready to take over the practice of law that we've developed, but take over the management of that practice as well," Hausfeld said.

The law firm represents claimants in areas including antitrust and competition, commercial and financial disputes, human rights, environmental and product liability and technology and data breaches, according to its website.

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Sara Merken reports on privacy and data security, as well as the business of law, including legal innovation and key players in the legal services industry. Reach her at