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August 3, 2011 5:14 PM

Wiley Rein's First Bill for Howrey Bankruptcy: $264,000

Posted by Sara Randazzo

Bills for professional services are beginning to pile up for the bankrupt Howrey estate, with legal and financial advisers detailing the cost of those services in fee requests filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court this week in San Francisco.

Covering the period from June 7 (when Howrey converted its bankruptcy from an involuntary Chapter 7 filing to voluntary Chapter 11) through the end of the month, the court records show the defunct firm's financial adviser Protiviti Inc. submitted the largest bill, for about $393,000.

Bankruptcy counsel Wiley Rein, meanwhile, submitted a fee and expense report totaling about $264,000. Wiley’s top billing partner on the matter is H. Jason Gold, resident in the Washington, D.C., office. Gold has put in more than 100 hours at a rate of $730 per hour, according to the filing. Other Wiley partners working on the case included Valerie Morrison (roughly 85 hours at $660 per hour) and Dylan Trache (129 hours at $535 per hour), both in the Washington office.

Felderstein Fitzgerald Willoughby & Pascuzzi, a bankruptcy boutique in Sacramento, California, that serves as counsel to the official committee of unsecured Howrey creditors, submitted a bill for roughly $49,000 in fees. Name partner Thomas Willoughby did most of the firm’s work on the matter, billing 73 hours at $475 per hour. Willoughby, who performed the same function in the bankruptcy of Heller Ehrman, was chosen as the committee’s attorney in mid-June.

The unsecured creditors committee filed a request Monday asking the court to approve the hiring of financial consultant Development Specialists Inc. at a blended rate of $310 per hour to analyze Howrey's finances and advise on a liquidation plan. DSI previously advised on the financial unwinding of other bankrupt law firms including Heller and Coudert Brothers.

While Howrey and its creditors work toward finalizing a dissolution plan, the firm is also battling with its Washington, D.C., landlord over unpaid rent that could cost the firm $7.7 million and with its medical insurance provider over more than 4,000 unpaid claims from former employees.

The firm detailed its own monthly expenses for June last week and still hopes to move the bankruptcy proceedings to a Washington, D.C.–area jurisdiction, though that issue is on hold until a preliminary liquidation plan is arranged in the next two months, according to sibling publication The Recorder (subscription required).

Line-item details of expenses contained in the filings are available here, here and here.

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