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Judge Questions Dewey & LeBoeuf’s $600 Per Hour
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Scrooge McDuck, a partner at Dewey, McScrooge & LeBoeufManhattan federal judge Denny Chin would like to know how New York City’s Dewey Cheatham & Howe & LeBoeuf can justify charging a $600 hourly rate for associates on a securities lawsuit.

Dewey & LeBoeuf served as reciever for WexTrust Capital in an SEC lawsuit. WexTrust ran a Ponzi scheme that raised $225 million by targeting the Orthodox Jewish community (a popular tactic these days).

Judge Chin froze WexTrust’s assets, and appointed Dewey to serve as receiver. Last month, Dewey submitted an application to collect compensation and expenses for the first twenty or so days it served as receiver. The firm asked for $2.2 million.

  
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G&H Partners, one of the larger creditors in the receivership, objected to the request. Now Chin has asked Dewey & LeBoeuf to justify the amount:

It is difficult to evaluate the reasonableness of the hourly rates for most of the lawyers listed. For example, [five attorneys] — all simply described as “Associate” — have substantial hours billed at hourly rates of, respectively, $605, $605, $550, $605, and $605. Without knowing anything about their backgrounds, it is difficult for the Court to determine whether the requested hourly rates are reasonable. …

While I accept the representations that the requested hourly rates are D&L’s standard hourly rates for the individuals involved, I wonder whether the rates are high for legal services rendered in connection with a securities receivership proceeding. Is it reasonable to bill at hourly rates of $700 to $950 for partners and $425 to $550 to $605 for associates in the context of a securities receivership? Is it reasonable to bill at hourly rates of $285 for summer associates & $175 to $275 for paralegals? Have courts in other receivership cases awarded fees applying such rates?

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Dewey & LeBoeuf declined to comment — their mouths were full of Almas caviar while they cavorted on a solid gold yacht.

Via WSJ Law Blog via Patrick Lamb.





 

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