After reviewing dozens of bankruptcy filings from 2015, the Wall Street Journal recently released an article, “Bankruptcy Provides Window Into Law Firm Billing Practices,” posting its findings regarding the fees commanded by partners in a variety of practices. As most of us familiar with chapter 11 bankruptcy know, attorneys and other professionals retained in these proceedings must keep their fees and costs transparent through fee applications.
Some of the largest chapter 11 cases were reviewed, and the filings revealed that some law firms have increased their maximum partner rates to nearly $1,500 per hour. Many senior partners, according to the report, routinely billed between $1,200 and $1,400 per hour. And a few “star lawyers” were commanding close to $2,000 per hour.
It is no surprise that high-stakes practices such as bankruptcy tend to command higher rates. Bankruptcy professionals have long argued that they are not charging more for their work than their peers in similarly demanding areas of law. And the court filings reviewed showed tax, litigation, corporate, and M&A attorneys charge just as much, if not more.