An unpublished academic study of bankruptcy-court legal fees, which was posted online in July, has put the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP on the defensive.
The study by professor Lynn LoPucki and his colleague Joseph Doherty of University of California, Los Angeles asserts that in the bankruptcies of 74 public companies, Skadden’s fees were 46% higher than other debtors’ counsel.
Skadden, a bankruptcy powerhouse, represented 10 of the 74 debtors, whose plans were confirmed between 1998 and 2003. Mr. LoPucki explains that since Skadden’s hourly rates weren’t any higher than other firms, Skadden must have billed more hours per case, on average.
Skadden is expensive? And they bill “more hours per case, on average,” than other law firms? Heh, we could have told you that without some fancy “study.”
Sure, large firms overstaff everything. But even within the precincts of Biglaw, Skadden is known for taking the “Chinese army” approach to staffing: throw enough people on a case, and you’ll get a good result.
(For more substantive, less glib responses to the LoPucki/Doherty study, check out the comments to the WSJ Law Blog post.)
Skadden’s Bankruptcy Bills [WSJ Law Blog]