Legal media company Lawdragon has published an in-depth profile of Lieff Cabraser name partner Richard M. Heiman entitled “The Producers: Richard Heimann.”
The piece highlights Heimann’s numerous victories and details his path to becoming a “plaintiffs’ class-action champion.”
“Easy to be fooled by his low-key, almost quiet persona when you meet him. But don’t tell that to Big Tobacco or Wells Fargo, from whom he’s wrested vast amounts of ill-gotten gain on behalf of consumers.
“His path to preeminence at one of the nation’s most successful class-action firms started in Philadelphia, where he worked as a public defender. It wasn’t the guilty clients that bothered him; it was the innocent ones. The ability to achieve justice for them in a grueling system was imperfect, to say the very least. So he headed to San Francisco, and – after a detour as a prosecutor – found himself in private practice. Then, destiny called.”
Excerpts from the interview are below. You can read the full profile on Lawdragon’s site.
Lawdragon: Your first job as a deputy public defender in Philadelphia – did you enjoy the criminal trial practice?
RH: I did for a while. I don’t know if this is true of everyone, but it was certainly true of me: It burns you out, and for a couple of reasons. One, you’re dealing with some really awful people, and I’m not just talking about the defense side. The whole milieu is terrible. And Philadelphia was, in those days, a very difficult place. Frank Rizzo was the mayor, Arlen Specter was the DA. They were very hard on criminal cases. It also burns you out, because, at least for me, I didn’t mind defending people that I knew were guilty or thought were guilty, but when I was defending somebody who I was convinced was innocent, that puts an awful lot of pressure on you. It really grinds after a while.
LD: Do you love going to court still?
RH: Yeah, I do. It’s hard work, particularly when you’re getting ready for trial. But the best thing about it, and it has been over the years, is how diverse the experience is. We don’t do cookie-cutter cases. One of the great things about this firm and for me personally is the diversity of the work. It seems that everything’s different, and you’re recreating the wheel every time.
I could not survive being at a defense firm and being a specialist. Most folks in those law firms are. I don’t know how you find much pleasure out of practicing in a firm with several thousand lawyers located not only across all over the country, but the world. And you’re basically just a cog in that giant corporate machine. It doesn’t appeal to me at all.
About Richard Heimann
Richard Heimann supervises Lieff Cabraser’s securities and financial fraud practice. He began his legal career as a deputy public defender and later served as an assistant district attorney. From this foundation, Richard has become one of the nation’s foremost trial attorneys and skilled negotiators, with unparalleled experience in complex securities and investor fraud, antitrust and intellectual property, consumer protection, and personal injury and mass torts cases. In its 2015 inaugural review of the nation’s top trial lawyers, Law360 selected Richard as a “Trial Ace.” Just one of 50 attorneys recognized, Richard was the only trial ace practicing at a law firm that represents solely plaintiffs.