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Dewey Wins Dispute Over MF Global Fees
It’s somewhat bizarre, the amount of lateral moves and partner toggling involved in law firms. With Dewey & LeBoeuf moving through Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the biggest law firm to do so, they had to quit a case where they managed the bankruptcy of MF Global 6 months earlier. One of Dewey’s lawyers, Martin Bienenstock, left Dewy to join Proskauer Rose. He has since brought MF Global to court for the fee requests of $9 million dollars to be paid. MF Global has called the fees excessive, and Jones Day partner Bruce Bennett fought to have them reduced by $750,000. Bennett is himself a former Dewey lawyer.
So this battle fought by two former Dewey lawyers over what money is owed Dewey is a bit convoluted. It has, nevertheless, been somewhat resolved, in that Bienenstock won the day when Judge Martin Glenn ruled Tuesday that the fees were not excessive and should be paid.
The dispute arose over whether Dewey had appropriately added fees. Dewey was accused of unnecessarily duplicating the work of MF Global’s Louis Freeh in monitoring the insolvency proceedings. Dewey, in return, called this objection “founded on misstatements and half-truths,” as The Am Law Daily reported.
Dewey claimed that Freeh and his lawyers, as well as members of the creditor’s committee “constantly reviewed the fees,” and that they themselves would be fools to “idly [sit] by and merely monitor” the foreign proceedings, which are “the Debtors’ estates most valuable assets and bargaining tools.”
Ultimately, the judge agreed with this sentiment, and Bienenstock said, “I’m very pleased justice was done.”
Nevertheless, Dewey eased up on their fees a tad, with Proskauer cutting theirs by $14,510, and Dewey cutting theirs by $20,537.
All in all, Dewey in its dissolution has spread out to take both sides of the cases that continue to roil like the remnants of a sunken ship breaching back to the surface.