Law Firms

Disbanded Heller firm isn't entitled to profits from cases taken to new firms, ABA brief says

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The ABA has filed an amicus brief in four cases that argue the disbanded Heller Ehrman law firm should not be entitled to profits from hourly-fee legal work taken to new law firms.

The briefs were filed in the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in bankruptcy litigation seeking clawbacks from Jones Day, Davis Wright Tremaine, Foley & Lardner, and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe, according to an ABA press release.

Under ethics rules, the brief says, “any division of fees between firms must be with client written consent and, if the fees are paid to a firm that did not earn them, the payment would be unconscionable.”

The ABA urged the same result in an amicus brief filed with New York’s top court in litigation involving the defunct Coudert Brothers law firm. The court’s decision last year agreed with the ABA position.

Related article: “Heller isn’t entitled to unfinished-business profits in hourly fee cases, federal judge rules”

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