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A swathe of US law firms could net up to $144.5m (£82.4m) in legal fees from Delta Air Lines' Chapter 11 restructuring.
The projection of legal costs come after nine law firms petitioned a New York bankruptcy court judge to approve almost $31m (£17.7m) in initial work. The amount covers the first four and a half months, from 14 September 2005 to 31 January 2006.
Lawyers have hinted that legal fees could reach up to $144.5m if the bills continue at the same rate until the airline exits bankruptcy. Delta is expected to exit Chapter 11 by June 2007, but the airline has not confirmed this publicly.
Davis Polk & Wardwell, Delta's lead bankruptcy and restructuring adviser, leads on legal fees, requesting $10.9m (£6.2m) in fees and expenses for this first period.
Other firms are Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld ($4.8m (£2.7m)); Alston & Bird ($498,000 (£284,000)); Debevoise & Plimpton ($7.8m