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Libor, the New Asbestos

Barclays headquarters in the Canary Wharf business district of London
Barclays headquarters in the Canary Wharf business district of LondonPhotograph by Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

These are parched times for law firms. Clients just aren’t willing to pay what they used to for associates’ billable souls.

How fortuitous then that a multitrillion-dollar financial scandal promises to throw the lawsuit industry beaucoup fees, from both the alleged aggressors and their aggrieved. Thanks to the Barclays blowup, we now know that Libor, the most widely used and quoted benchmark for valuing about $360 trillion in financial products, has been rather rigged. Throw in the fact that this gauge is set by Wall Street, the villain à la mode, and a heretofore harmless interest rate could join the likes of asbestos and tobacco in one-word liability infamy.