Attorney Fees

Have bankruptcy lawyers 'killed their golden goose'? Trustee program sets new billing guidelines

Bankruptcy attorneys at BigLaw have no one but themselves to blame for new fee guidelines for lawyers in “larger” Chapter 11 cases that were unveiled last week by the U.S. Trustee Program, a law professor says.

By charging billable rates of as much as $1,000 an hour or more and proclaiming an intention to charge what the market would bear, they “may have finally killed their golden goose,” writes Steven J. Harper, an author and Northwestern University adjunct, in an Am Law Daily (sub. req.) news analysis.

The guidelines, which are set to take effect in November, are not mandatory, but may have persuasive impact on the judges who approve fees for bankruptcy lawyers, according to another Am Law Daily (sub. req.) article.

“We know that private industry has been demanding—for attorneys outside bankruptcy—discounts and other cost-containment mechanisms that haven’t been prevalent in bankruptcy,” says Clifford White III, who serves as director of the program, tells the legal publication. “We want to ensure that those market-driven approaches are in bankruptcy cases as the code requires.”

See also: “BigLaw Bankruptcy Lawyers Opposing Fee Transparency Are ‘Out of Touch,’ Editorial Says”

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