The Work

December 14, 2009 11:04 AM

Quinn Emanuel Wants $1 Million for NY Work

Posted by Brian Baxter

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart Oliver & Hedges has requested $1 million in fees for winning New York State Gov. David Paterson's legal battle to appoint a lieutenant governor, sibling publication the New York Law Journal reports.

The request for payment must be approved by state comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's office, which is already grappling with $2.8 billion in budget cutbacks to close an estimated $3.2 billion deficit.

The Am Law Daily and the NYLJ reported this summer that Paterson retained the firm to fight a civil suit state Republicans filed over the appointment of former MTA executive Richard Ravitch as his second-in-command.

After two adverse rulings by lower courts, Quinn Emanuel won a "stunning reversal" in September before the New York Court of Appeals in a 4-to-3 ruling allowing Paterson's appointment of Ravitch to go through.


Quinn Emanuel constitutional expert Kathleen Sullivan (right), chair of the firm's national appellate practice, led a team that helped reverse lower court opinions holding that the vacant lieutenant governor's position could only be filled through an election. (The position was open because of the resignation of former governor Eliot Spitzer in March 2008.)

The Am Law Litigation Daily had the full story on how Quinn Emanuel came to be retained after the New York attorney general's office declined to represent the governor, and state AG Andrew Cuomo opined that Paterson's appointment of Ravitch was unconstitutional. Sullivan won our Litigator of the Week honors for the surprising victory.

Now Quinn Emanuel, which has seen double-digit growth in revenue and profits while many Am Law firms are struggling amid the economic downturn, wants to get paid for its success.

While Paterson's opponents criticized the firm's fee request as a waste of taxpayer money, a spokesman for the governor claimed the fees "were a necessary aspect of clarifying the line of succession and resolving the chaos in the [state] Senate this past summer."

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