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Judge Caps Sidley Austin’s Hourly Rate On Tribune Efforts

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Cary has ruled that lawyers for the Tribune Company’s bankruptcy case cannot charge hourly fees that exceed four figures.

Lawyers from Sidley Austin LLP, who is representing Tribune in the case, wanted hourly rates that went as high as $1,100.  That is the highest rate ever sought for a firm dealing in bankruptcy reorganization.  Cary capped the hourly payments at $925, and said that if anyone wants more than $1000, they must attend a hearing where the lawyer proves he or she is worth such a price.

Tribune filed bankruptcy under Chapter 11 this past December.  It listed $13 billion in debt, and $7.6 billion in assets.  Tribune owns eight newspapers, including the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.  It also owns 23 television stations, the Chicago Cubs, as well as where the Cubs play, Wrigley Field.

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