Trusts & Estates

K&L Gates Cut Bill from $806K to $574K in $1.2M Matter, But Court OK Is Elusive


A K&L Gates bill for $710,322 in legal fees and $95,868 in costs for defending a contested $1.2 million estate sparked objections from lawyers for family members arguing over a 91-year-old man’s will.

But even after a Massachusetts Probate & Family Court negotiated a $574,322 compromise, attorney Thomas Maffei of Griesinger, Tighe & Maffei appealed the fee award. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court agreed that the second bill might still be too high in a ruling released this week, sending the matter back to Probate & Family Court with instructions to hear evidence about whether the bill is reasonable, according to the Docket blog of Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly.

Partner Stephen Howard, who led the K&L Gates team, couldn’t immediately be reached for comment by the legal publication, but has said in the past that his bill was fair and reasonable under the circumstances. Although the court said in its written opinion that “a total of eighteen attorneys and paralegals” handled the matter at K&L Gates, Howard says he and an associate did most of the work.

Hat tip: Above the Law.

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