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Top Lawyers Bill $1,000 an Hour

Posted Aug 22, 2007 10:53 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Lawyers at some of New York’s top firms are billing $1,000 an hour.

The move was a reluctant one for some law firms, the Wall Street Journal (sub. req.) reports. "We have viewed $1,000 an hour as a possible vomit point for clients," a partner at one New York firm told the newspaper.

Firms that have hit the four-figure mark for top partners include: Simpson Thacher & Bartlett; Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft; and Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson. The Wall Street Journal’s Law Blog ran photos of the top billers and proclaimed them members of a new elite fraternity: the Law Blog Thousand-Dollar Bar.

Barry Ostrager of Simpson Thacher says he’s worth the high price. "I haven't personally experienced resistance to my billing rates," he told the newspaper. "The legal marketplace is very sophisticated."

Some clients agree. Mike Dillon, the general counsel of Sun Microsystems Inc., says the pay is lower than that of major league baseball players, who make the equivalent of $15,000 per hour. “One thousand dollars for very seasoned lawyers who can solve complex problems doesn't seem to be inappropriate," he told the newspaper.

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