Fueled by Weil Gotshal & Manges partner rates in the $950/hour vicinity, “fees for lawyers, accountants and financial advisers in the Lehman case may reach $906 million, according to [bankruptcy lawprof] Lynn LoPucki”. (Bloomberg, Oct. 9). Elie Mystal at Above the Law notes a recent fee survey and concludes that “Lehman is getting the most expensive bankruptcy money can buy”.
Actually, bankruptcy professionals might earn even a very rich keep if they provided a quick and decisive way to allocate losses from the failure, move Lehman assets to their most productive uses and bring relative certainty to all parties. The prospect instead of slow, chancy, and hard-fought wrangling is one major reason why the administratively assisted “speed bankruptcy” model of financial institution reorganization, seen in the Washington Mutual case, has been winning praise from knowledgeable observers (e.g. Alex Tabarrok). If speed bankruptcy seems well suited to the crisis, one reason is that conventional, protracted, lawyer-run bankruptcy seems so ill-suited. More: Roger Parloff, Fortune “Legal Pad”, American Lawyer.