Lawyer Pay

David Boies' high hourly fees pale in comparison to request by lawyers suing Tesla

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David Boies

David Boies is the chairman and a managing partner at Boies Schiller Flexner. Photo by Kathy Anderson/ABA Journal.

High-profile lawyer David Boies charges $2,110 per hour, putting him “in a still-rarified realm of attorneys who charge upwards of $2,000 an hour,” according to Reuters.

Boies’ law firm, Boies Schiller Flexner, disclosed the billing rate in a fee request for representation of sex-trafficking victims of deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein. A $75 million settlement in the case won preliminary approval in June. The defendant is Deutsche Bank, which was accused of facilitating Epstein’s wrongdoing.

Lawyers for the plaintiffs are seeking 30% of the settlement. The amount sought is 2.2 times the amount that Boies Schiller and other lawyers in the case would have earned based on their billing rates and time spent, according to a Sept. 15 court document supporting the fee request.

Other lawyers with $2,000-plus billing rates include Neal K. Katyal of Hogan Lovells, who billed $2,465 per hour last year, and top lawyers at Covington & Burling, who were making $2,500 per hour last year, according to Reuters.

Those hourly billing rates are well below the amount sought by lawyers in a shareholders’ derivative lawsuit accusing Tesla directors of overpaying themselves. The suit won the return of $735 million in compensation and an agreement to give up another potential $184 million, Reuters reports in a separate article.

The lawyers are seeking $229 million, which is 25% of the estimated $919 million settlement value.

The requested fees amount to $10,690 per hour, according to Reuters. If the fee request is approved, it would be one of the highest ever in a shareholders’ derivative suit against a board.

The firms that worked on the case are Bleichmar Fonti & Auld; Fields Kupka & Shukurov; McCarter & English; and Clark Hill.

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