The 15-month-old bankruptcy reorganization for Los Angeles Times (and KTLA News) parent Tribune Co. has been really successful … for the lawyers.
In a breathtaking statement, the company's namesake Chicago Tribune reports (bravely, we might add) that “law firms and other professionals have billed the media conglomerate $138 million, or about one-quarter of the company's cash flow last year.” Wow. This is a company that has laid off hundreds of top journalists and still owes suppliers and freelancers cash (ahem), but has the lack of leadership to have been taken to the cleaners by legal buzzards.
Lead debtor's attorney Sidley Austin alone has racked up $25 million in legal fees, according to the report.
And, after the Delaware judge in the case found it necessary to warn attorneys not to charge more than $1,000, some of the more prominent lawyers involved in the filing set their fees just below that mark. Austin charges $925 an hour. New York-based Chadbourne & Parke, representing unsecured creditors in the case (that's us!), charged $955, according to the Tribune.
Really Chadbourne & Parke? Could you at least cut us the 15 minutes or so worth of your services the Times still owes us for a freelance piece?