$2000 an hour for a bankruptcy lawyer? 2022 could be the year – Reuters.com


(Reuters) – Will 2022 finally be the year of the $2,000-an-hour bankruptcy lawyer?
New corporate bankruptcy filings slowed down slightly this year after a pandemic surge in 2020. But there were still enough big 2021 cases to keep leading practitioners busy – with some billing over $1,800 an hour.
Kirkland & Ellis' highest hourly partner rates hit $1,895 in the bankruptcies of offshore driller Seadrill Ltd, mall operator Washington Prime Group and construction startup Katerra Inc.
Even the most junior associates at the firm billed $625 per hour in those cases, while other Kirkland associates billed as high as $1,195 – more than some partners at the firm, according to fee information filed with bankruptcy courts.
Rates at some other firms weren't far behind. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett partners charged up to $1,850 per hour in the bankruptcy of Chilean bank holding company Corp Group Banking SA. Its most junior associates topped those at Kirkland, charging $655 per hour in the Corp Group case.
The graphics below show hourly rates charged by those and other firms tapped as lead debtor's counsel in a sampling of Chapter 11 cases filed in 2021, as well as the amounts they had charged in those bankruptcies as of mid-December.
Most of the cases were selected because they involved debt of at least $1 billion.
Some were notable for other reasons, such as the case of former talc miner Cyprus Mines Corporation, which was caught up in Johnson & Johnson-related talc litigation before it filed for Chapter 11 protection. (The J&J talc liabilities bankruptcy was not included because it has yet to report monthly fees.)
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Maria Chutchian reports on corporate bankruptcies and restructurings. She can be reached at maria.chutchian@thomsonreuters.com.
Brent Turner
Bob Koneck, Alex Lempiner
Roger Horner
Sara Merken, David Thomas
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