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Federal Judge Bashes The DOJ And Calls Out Biglaw As Too Expensive In The Same Case

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U.S. District Judge Richard Leon of the District of Columbia doesn’t appear happy. And, I imply, it’s comprehensible.

You see, Arnold & Porter introduced a case towards the United States, professional bono, difficult a Department of Homeland Security coverage barring New Yorkers from taking part within the Global Entry program. In response to the go well with, the Department of Justice stated in court docket that no state that wouldn’t share motorcar information with the federal authorities, like New York, may take part. However, that wasn’t true. The DOJ later admitted the reality, and did away with the coverage banning New Yorkers.

But now the time has come for Arnold & Porter to receives a commission for his or her professional bono work as a part of the settlement ending the case. According to the phrases of the agreement, A&P would get $206,500 primarily based on its company billing charges (two companions and 6 associates reportedly labored on the matter)… offered the settlement will get judicial approval.

As I stated on the prime, Judge Leon isn’t a cheerful camper. As reported by Law.com, he calls out the DOJ’s “embarrassing conduct” and says the need to brush the whole matter under the rug is what motivated them to comply with A&P’s charges:

“It is not every day the Department of Justice and their clients have to confess to written and oral misrepresentations on the record in a high profile case! It would appear that Arnold & Porter simply capitalized—unfortunately at the taxpayer expense—on the government’s apparent desire to dispose of the case as quickly as possible,” Leon wrote in his order denying the charges.

“I certainly hope, and expect, that the department’s leadership will take the necessary steps in the future, especially in cases that involve embarrassing conduct of the type here, to ensure that the fees agreed to by the department, and ultimately paid by the taxpayer, are indeed fair and reasonable.”

Despite the federal government’s poor habits, Judge Leon went on to say that A&P’s company charges weren’t applicable on this case:

“The court finds that charging defendants for time billed at Arnold & Porter’s standard, corporate rates is not reasonable under the circumstances here,” Leon wrote. “Arnold & Porter is, according to its own website, a ‘world-class’ firm, handling complex regulatory, litigation, and transactional solutions for its corporate clients’ most complex challenges. In a case of this kind, where the agreed-upon fees will ultimately be paid by the taxpayer, applying Arnold & Porter’s standard corporate rates make little sense.”

Judge Leon famous that utilizing the Laffey Matrix, a mannequin charge schedule used to find out cheap hourly charges, assuming two companions and the 2 highest billing associates on the case, the cheap charges can be $82,562. That’s… a big discount from to $206,500 the settlement referred to as for.


headshotKathryn Rubino is a Senior Editor at Above the Law, and host of The Jabot podcast. AtL tipsters are the most effective, so please join together with her. Feel free to e-mail her with any suggestions, questions, or feedback and comply with her on Twitter (@Kathryn1).

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