Cobell Lawsuit & Settlement | Opinion

Editorial: Don't let attorney fee dispute derail Cobell settlement




"Well, evidently the lawyers in the case have decided they need a little more fairness and opportunity, because they now have petitioned the federal court to more than double the agreed-to fees β€” to $223 million.

And that has prompted some in Congress to introduce legislation to revisit the settlement because of excessive legal fees.

Considering the public dispute over fees reaching as much as $99.9 million, and the subsequent agreement, it's hard not to agree that this latest demand is excessive.

We're by no means experts on fee structures, but simple math suggests that the demand is at least extreme.

If you assume fees of $500 an hour (probably an excessive assumption), the new demand divides out to 446,000 billable hours. Working it on out, that's more than 14 lawyers billing $500 an hour for 40 hours a week for the full 15 years of the case.

Nice work if you can get it."

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Editorial: Don't let new lawyers'-fee claim scuttle Cobell settlement (The Great Falls Tribune 4/8)