“Nice Work If You Can Get It”

Berman DeValerio Pease and other class action lawyers in the settlement of a case against Xerox want reimbursement of about $500 an hour for time spent by temporary attorneys who say they were getting $35/ and $40/hour. “Documents in the Xerox case also suggest the plaintiff lawyers spread the markup on temp attorneys among themselves, sometimes in puzzling ways. Partners at Bernstein Litowitz, a big New York class action firm, spent less than 20 hours on the case, according to court reports. Yet the firm wants $7.5 million for the 15,000 hours” its temps put in. (Daniel Fisher, Forbes, Dec. 8). Eight years ago we recounted how Maryland tort magnate Peter Angelos was expecting to reap between $15,000 and $30,000 an hour on legal work a large chunk of which had been carried out by $12/hour lawyer temps.


  • Why on earth would Bernstein Litowitz be entitled to $7.5 million in fees for hiring temps if they did almost nothing else on the case? Bernstein clearly wasn’t brought into the Xerox case for its legal expertise. According to the Forbes article, lead counsel said Bernstein was involvement was to “spread the risk.” Since all they did was pay for a bunch of temps, Bernstein’s receipt of attorneys fees probably violates any number fee-sharing rules. (shocking)

  • Don’t forget that Milberg is one of the lead “other class action lawyers” on Xerox and – according to a July 2008 Wall Street Journal piece – Mel Weiss will collect fees from the case while sitting in federal prison. I thought the PSLRA was supposed to ensure institutional investors like LASERs negotiated a good fee for the class? Cornyn needs to get his Securities Litigation Attorney Accountability and Transparency Act through congress ASAP.