$2,465 Hourly Rate Draws Criticism in Bankruptcy Case

Pssst….want a good deal on your bankruptcy lawyer? How’s $2,465 per hour sound to you?

According to news sources, the United States is objecting to a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary’s bid to add Hogan Lovells partner Neal Katyal to its legal team in a high-stakes bankruptcy case, citing his hourly rate of $2,465 — a possible new legal industry high.

Johnson & Johnson is using the proceedings to try to resolve claims that its baby powder and other talc-based products caused cancer. The company, which maintains the products are safe, in October assigned thousands of talc lawsuits to a new subsidiary, LTL Management LLC, and placed it into bankruptcy.

Lynn LoPucki, a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law who tracks bankruptcy cases, said Monday that Katyal’s rate of nearly $2,500 is the highest he has seen.

According to the trustee’s objection, the hourly rate among LTL’s lawyers from Jones Day topped out at $1,350. Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom charged as high as $1,195; Weil, Gotshal & Manges’ top rate was $1,579; and Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe’s was $1750. Lawyers from King & Spalding and Shook, Hardy & Bacon are also representing LTL.

Top approved billing rates in bankruptcy cases have been creeping toward the $2,000 mark over the past year. Kirkland & Ellis’ partner hourly billing rate hit $1,895 in three separate 2021 bankruptcies, while Simpson Thacher & Bartlett partners charged up to $1,850 per hour in the bankruptcy of Chilean bank holding company Corp Group Banking SA last year.

Perhaps one of the reasons a company NEEDS to declare bankruptcy could be found in what some are paying for these services? Well, it’s a legal world and disputes are EVERYWHERE! So when those things negatively impact YOU and/or YOUR business including bankruptcies, landlord/tenant matters including unlawful detainers, contract issues, nuisance ADA claims and even collections, call in your good guy (and fair-priced btw) business litigator, Dean Sperling to resolve YOUR matter with YOUR best interests in mind!

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