It’s looking more and more like the big winners in the BP Oil Spill Litigation will be Ken Feinberg’s law firm Feinberg Rozen and defense lawyers.
The WSJ Law Blog reported Monday that Plaintiff lawyers are heading for the exits:
Plaintiffs’ attorneys who put money up front to hire experts are fretting about their investments, and some are trying to find a way to bow out of the litigation gracefully. Of course, there are plenty of complaints to be had about the pace of the Feinberg payouts so it’s too early to predict the success of the litigation.
I still think that there will be wars in court between resort properties and other businesses and their insurance companies and/or BP over lost revenue this past Summer. People didn’t go to the beach due to the threat of oil. There was a definite loss of revenue even in places miles from the beach and where the oil never reached. Those victims are likely to sue.
The plaintiff lawyers who may be out of luck are the ones who went out and signed up fisherman, crabbers, shrimpers, etc. BP hired those guys to look for oil, birds with oil on them etc. Many made good money.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg reports that Ken Feinberg’s firm has been paid $2.5 million so far and is getting paid $850,000 per month:
The London-based oil company agreed to pay Feinberg Rozen LLP in Washington a fee of $850,000 a month from mid-June, when Feinberg agreed to run the claims facility, through Oct. 1, according to a report today on the compensation by former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey.
As for what this money covers, the article states:
The payments from BP help offset the “significant distortion” the project is causing to the Feinberg firm’s business, Mukasey said in the report today. Feinberg Rozen has turned away three mediation requests since June, according to the report.
Four attorneys spent 2,777 hours from June 16 to Oct. 4 working on the claims fund, according to the report. The firm hired two attorneys to help handle the work.
By my calculation that means Feinberg Rozen lawyers are averaging about $900.00 per hour for their work. I can’t criticize Feinberg Rozen’s pay for two reasons. First, I’ve heard that there are already lawyers in top law firms in New York, Washington and other East Coast cities who charge over $900 per hour. I suspect that BP has lawyers on its payroll who charge over $900 per hour.
Second, Feinberg Rozen has a specialty niche as resolution counsel that has no major competitor in the nation that I’m aware of. Ken Feinberg earned national fame running the settlement fund for 9/11 victims. His firm is hired by major corporations to settle mass tort and similar cases.
People might be surprised to know how many lawyers in Mississippi have dealt with Feinberg’s partner Mike Rozen in negotiating settlements in large cases. I had never heard of them until Rozen showed up in a case that I worked on. I asked around and learned that many Mississippi lawyers have dealt with Rozen.
While Feinberg Rozen’s compensation is large, my guess is that it is in line with what the firm charges other clients.