Sunday, February 22, 2009

$925 hour – Bankruptcy is Expensive

A few weeks ago, I had to hire a bankruptcy attorney for a matter at work. After I heard his rate, I decided I should have taken bankruptcy law during law school. Frankly, all he had to do was present a relatively simple motion.

After reading this story, I think bankruptcy law might be the best racket going.


In Tribune Bankruptcy, Judge Caps Sidley's Fees at $925/hr

Posted by Dan Slater

In a tough economy, rife with bankruptcies and bailouts, fee applications may not be sliding by judges the way they used to.

Bloomberg reports that U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Kevin Carey has ruled that Sidley Austin's lawyers may collect a maximum of $925 an hour for bankruptcy work on Tribune Co., instead of the $1,100 the firm originally requested.

Judge Carey reportedly said in a hearing today that any bankruptcy lawyer who tries to charge $1,000 an hour will need to prove he or she is worth that much. "To the extent that this applicant or any other hits that mark I will require evidence in support of that rate," Carey said.

The decision by Carey to lower the maximum fee Sidley can charge is unusual, Lynn LoPucki, who teaches bankruptcy law at the University of California at Los Angeles, said in an interview. "I never saw any of these fee applications not get approved," LoPucki said.

LoPucki maintains a database with samples of high bankruptcy fees. The $1,100 Sidley requested for its top lawyers on the case was higher than any fee in that database, LoPucki said, adding that the $925/hr fee that was approved is still higher than all but a handful of rates in bankruptcy.

A call to Sidley Austin was not immediately returned.

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