Weekly Wrap Up 3/2/12

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Mar 022012

A collection of legal fee articles from the past week…

Heller Attorneys’ Fees Ready for Appeal (LegalTimes) – Lead attorney for victorious plaintiff Heller is back in the courtroom, appealing a $1.17 million attorneys’ fee award from the District Court. Alan Gura, of Alexandria’s Gura & Possessky, and Clark Neilly III, from the Institute for Justice today, filed a notice of appeal announcing his intent to ask the Federal Circuit to review the D.D.C opinion.  All this is taking place on the backdrop of settlement negotiations between the District of Columbia and Gura. Neilly confirmed that settlement negotiations are continuing, but that the notice of appeal was filed to ensure their options in court remain open. Heller’s legal team is disputing the reduction from their 3.12 million dollar request, stating the original amount was reasonable based upon the length and complexity of the request. Continue reading »

Weekly Wrap Up 2/3/2012

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Feb 032012

A collection of legal fees news from the past week…

Super Bowl Week Reveals Super Legal Fees (AM Law Daily) –  With fans gearing up for Sunday’s big game, it seems apropos that the NFL Players’ Association released their annual LM-2 filing, detailing expenses between March 1, 2010 and February 28, 2011. The report revealed a massive build up in spending leading to the lockout which commenced on March 12, 2011, and subsequent decertification by the NFLPA. According to the report, approximately 63.2 million dollars was spent on representational activity in the period reported on. Amongst law firms leading the way were Latham & Watkins ($ 3.1 million), Dewey & LeBoeuf ($2.9 million), and Patton Boggs ($ 948, 983). Interestingly, the head of the NFLPA, DeMaurice Smith, is a former Latham and Patton Boggs partner. Those two firms have moved in on the legal sphere traditionally occupied by Dewey and Weil, Gotshal & Manges. Continue reading »

Weekly Wrap Up 1/27/12

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Jan 272012

A collection of legal fees news from the previous week…

$89,000 Legal Fee Approved Despite $500 Award (NY Law Journal) – Despite receiving only a $500 award in her suit alleging excessive force in an arrest, a NY Judge awarded an $89,000 legal fee to her attorney.  Judge Jack B. Weinstein ruled in the case of Brown v. Starrett City Associates in the Eastern District of New York and confirmed a magistrate judge’s recommendations on fees. Under the Civil Rights Attorney’s Fees Award Act, the judge ruled plaintiff was entitled to an award of fees.  The defendant’s protested the award, claiming it was merely de minimis or nominal. The judge rejected that argument on two counts, first citing a public policy issue that the very act of liability was all that is necessary; and secondly on grounds that the award was not de minimis. Jury instructions specified a de minimis award of $1. The Magistrate Judge further noted this was a unique constitutional issue, and it was on the record plaintiff’s attorney had performed “exceptionally” well.

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Yearly Wrap Up – 2011

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Dec 302011

Yearly Wrap Up

The most popular stories of 2011 on Controlling Legal Costs…

Reverse Auctions Becoming More Frequently Used by Corporations to Reduce Legal Costs (August 9th) – Reverse auctions have become more frequently utilized by corporations to reduce their legal spend. The online auction process allows firms to submit anonymous bids on specified projects. If a firm submits a new, lower bid the auction is extended to allow competing firms to submit a lower bid if they so desire. Although the process has been criticized for reducing law firms’ long term relationships with clients, general counsels have praised the idea for evaluating the cost-effectiveness of firms on a project by project basis. Continue reading »

Weekly Wrap Up 12/23

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Dec 232011

A collection of Legal Fee Articles from the past week..

TVA Shelling Out Massive Legal Costs in Response to Coal Ash Spill (The Tennessean) – The Tennessee Valley Authority, the largest public utility in the state, told the Associated Press on Friday that  it has spent over $10 million on outside legal costs stemming from the Kingston Plant coal ash spill.  The firm of Shook, Hardy, and Bacon, based out of Knoxville, has been the recipient of these fees.  Plaintiff’s attorney, Gary Davis, expressed outrage over the fees that the TVA has paid to outside counsel so far. He said, “A lot of people could have been compensated for their damages.” A judge is set to rule on the issue of negligence soon. Continue reading »

Weekly Wrap Up – 12/16/11

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Dec 162011

A collection of legal fee news from the past week…

Alternative Fees Being Considered by Washington Governor (The News Tribune) – Washington Governor Chris Gergoire’s administration is looking to cut costs, and legal bills racked up by sex offenders on McNeil Island have moved onto his radar. On average, the state government has been paying $39,000 a year in legal fees for the inmates.  Even worse, the state does not even know how much each individual inmate’s legal costs were because attorneys were not required to itemize their bills until this year. Attorneys are currently being compensated at $85 / hr for their time with these cases. State officials are considering switching to flat contracted rates or hiring public defenders to ease the budgetary concerns.

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Weekly Wrap Up – 12/9/11

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Dec 092011

A collection of legal fees news articles from the past week…

New York Politician Seeks Attorneys’ Fees (Albany Times Union) – Former New York State Senate Majority leader Joe Bruno is seeking state reimbursement of legal fees he incurred as a result of his prosecution for alleged felony corruption charges. A US Court of Appeals recently vacated the conviction, and under Section 19 of the Public Officer’s Law in New York, public officials are entitled to attorneys’ fees for charges they are acquitted of arising under a cause of action related to their office. The Bruno Defense Fund currently has incurred approximately $2 million in expenses, and have not yet stated how much they will submit to the state. Continue reading »

Weekly Wrap Up 12/2

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Dec 022011

A collection of legal fee articles from the past week…

Law Firms Work For Free, Saving Chicago on Legal Fees (ABA Journal) – With the appointment of Chicago corporate counsel, Steven Patton, came his request that lawyers work for the city for free. This was met with a positive response, with none of the firms turning him down unless there was a conflict. Four firms have agreed to represent the city on complex matters and to provide legal advice for free. Last year, the city spent approximately $25 million in legal fees. Chicago will not be the first city to save on legal fees by receiving free legal help. New York and Los Angeles have saved millions of dollars through free legal services as well. Continue reading »

Weekly Wrap Up 11/18

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Nov 182011

A collection of legal fee articles from the past week…

Are Attorneys’ Fees in Class Actions the Right Price? (Above The Law) – Popular legal website Above the Law recently covered a panel discussion at the National Lawyers Convention of the Federalist Society. The discussion revolved around the fees for class actions, and whether attorneys pursuing class action claims are making too much. Criticism was levied against the courts for being no more than a “rubber stamp” for the high settlement legal fee payments that attorneys receive when the class benefits are comparatively small.  Professor Brian Fitzpatrick argued that class actions are compensated on the appropriate level, and said his two year study found the average fee award was typically 15% of the class award. Jeffrey Jacobson of Debevoise & Plimpton also posited that settlements in class action suits that involve replacement of defective merchandise often have a lower award of damages, even though the attorneys on the case put in the same amount of time they would on any other class action. Settlement in those cases often ends up being a cheaper action for both parties. Continue reading »

Weekly Wrap Up 11/11

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Nov 112011

A collection of Legal Fee News for the week…

Details of Fee Settlement in Segregation Case Unsealed (The Daily World) – A federal judge recently unsealed the details of a settlement agreement stemming from a school segregation lawsuit encompassing the past 40 years. Last week, the school board of St. Landy’s Parish in Louisiana approved an $800,000 settlement for attorney Marion Overton White for her 40 years of work on the case. White claimed he worked 14,316.5 hours on the case at an hourly rate of $350, leading to an over $5,000,000 fee request. He later asked the court that the amount be doubled to $10 million dollars.  The initial suit, Monteilh v. St. Landy Parish School Board  was settled this year with redistricting and the creation of new programs.


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