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April 22, 2010 5:41 PM

The Lehman Bill: Approaching $750 Million...and Counting

Posted by Zach Lowe

The latest Lehman Brothers bill is in, and the total dollar amount the bankrupt estate has paid out to financial advisers and law firms is approaching $750 million and might possibly be on its way to $1 billion, according to documents Lehman filed today with the SEC and this Bloomberg article

The rate of law firm billing has actually slowed down a bit since the last time we checked. Through January, 2010, law firms had billed about $311 million of the $649 million total paid out to advisers since Lehman filed for Chapter 11 protection on Sept. 15, 2008. Over February and March of this year, the total bill jumped by about $82 million to $731 million, with law firms accounting for just $20 million of the increase in those two months, according to the SEC documents. The total law firm bill is now up to $331 million. 

The biggest biller, to no one's surprise, continues to be Lehman's lead debtor counsel at Weil, Gotshal & Manges, which has billed the estate just short of $165 million since the bankruptcy filing. As we reported in February, Weil's bill breaks down to about $300,000 per day since Lehman's bankruptcy filing. Weil billed about $15 million in January and February combined, which breaks down to about $255,000 per day over those two months. 

The other top billers remain the same: Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCoy has billed $47.7 million in its role as lead creditors counsel, while Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle has billed about $15.8 million as Lehman's special conflicts counsel, SEC records show. Rising fast: Jones Day, which is litigating for Lehman against Barclays and Boies, Schiller & Flexner in a high-profile dispute over whether Barclays got an unfair $11 billion "windfall" when it purchased Lehman's North American assets shortly after Lehman's bankruptcy filing. Jones Day's bill has surged to just over $20 million, SEC records show. Jenner & Block has racked up a $48.4 million bill for producing the 2,000-plus page examiner's report investigating Lehman's collapse--the report that unearthed Lehman's use of the now-infamous Repo-105 transactions to mask its debt levels.

In any case, this is becoming quite a bill, and not everyone is thrilled about it, even though Lehman's bankruptcy is unprecedented in terms of its complexity, according to Bloomberg. "What a travesty," George Fisher, head of municipal trading for Capital Guardian LLC told the news service. "They've taken nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars out of a company that's bankrupt, and nobody cares."

We're not sure about that last part, George.


Contact Zach Lowe at [email protected].

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