Monday, March 27, 2006

File This One Under Outrageous

767dl_2_1 The Associated Press reports on the legal fees that Northwest and Delta Airlines attorneys are seeking as they take the carriers through the bankruptcy process:

As Delta and Northwest press employees to take deep pay and benefit cuts, their lawyers and consultants are asking bankruptcy court judges to approve $59 million in fees and expenses for 3 1/2 to 4 1/2 months of work.

Northwestairlines_a320212_n353nw_786_474_1  Complicated bankruptcy cases commonly generate big fees for lawyers - so it might not be surprising that, by the time the two airlines exit Chapter 11, the tab could be $276 million or more. But such bills also routinely draw criticism from employees, creditors and other parties - and with Atlanta-based Delta Air Lines Inc. and Eagan, Minn.-based Northwest Airlines Corp. asking employees for wage concessions, legal fees are indeed an issue.

For instance, one law firm billed Northwest $130 for long-distance faxes, at $1.25 per page. It charged 10 cents for each photocopy, adding up to $17,309. It billed more than $183,000 for online research.

Billing records show 59 lawyers from Bruce Zirinsky's law firm alone working on the Northwest case. Zirinsky himself so far has logged 706.8 hours at $800 an hour. That added up to $565,440 in 3 1/2 months. Zirinsky did not return a phone call seeking comment on the fees

Disbelief and outrage here. Anyone else? Those of you who think that this type of billing practice is justified, please help me understand.


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