Trials & Litigation

Does Legal Fees Motion in $590M Citigroup Case Include $1K Per Hour for Low-Paid Contract Lawyers?

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A protester has filed an objection to a legal-fees request in a securities case settled by Citigroup for $590 million, contending that the lead plaintiffs law firm is trying to charge $1,000 per hour for some contract attorneys who were actually paid only a small fraction of that amount.

Attorney Ted Frank of the Center for Class Action Fairness says in the Dec. 21 filing that the fee request by Kirby McInerney “is based on the false premise that an unemployed real-estate lawyer doing first-tier securities litigation document review as a temporary contract attorney has a market rate of $550/hour,” Forbes reports.

Partner Peter Linden of Kirby McInerney says it is appropriate and efficient to use contract attorneys in such cases.

“The law is pretty clear that contract attorneys are an essential part of modern law,” he stated. “We train them, and we make sure there’s supervision.”

According to Forbes, contract attorneys in New York, who often are hired through third-party agencies, are routinely paid $40 to $60 per hour. A standard markup for the law firms that use contract attorneys experienced in securities cases involves billing them out at a “market rate” of $250 to $550 per hour, Forbes says.

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