Bankrupt Delta Airlines pays out

Davis Polk & Wardwell is proving to be the top earner from Delta Air Lines ongoing Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.

The New York-based firm has netted $10.3m (£5.59m) in fees and $603,539 (£327,000) in expenses after a bankruptcy court judge approved the payment for just four-and-a-half months’ work.

The Davis Polk team, led by partners Marshall Huebner and John Fouhey, is primarily responsible for assisting Delta to sort out its $28bn (£15.18bn) in liabilities and $21bn (£11.39bn) in assets.

Seven other law firms have also had their full payment requests for the same 14 September 2005 to 31 January 2006 period approved by US Bankruptcy Court Judge Adlai Hardin.

Overall, the eight firms, which include both the company’s own bankruptcy counsel and the counsel of the companies it owes money to, have charged Delta $30m (£16.27m) so far.

Debevoise & Plimpton, Delta’s counsel on issues related to aircraft financing, pulled in the second-highest amount of fees: $9.5m (£5.15m) in fees and $187,000 (£101,000) in expenses.

Paul Hastings Janofsky & Walker was awarded a total of $2.03m (£1.1m) in fees and around $137,000 (£74,000) in expenses.

Alston & Bird advised the airline on pension and employee-benefits, led by deputy managing partner Philip Cook. It will receive around $612,000 (£332,000) in fees and $9,000 (£5,000) in expenses.