Kirkland reinforces its position in the sector

Kirkland & Ellis has consolidated its position as one of the US’s leading bankruptcy firms, after bringing in nearly $50m (£28.7m) worth of legal fees from just two cases in less than a year.

According to a recent filing, the firm notched up a massive $24.8m (£14.2m) in fees as debtor’s counsel to US insurance giant Conseco, which emerged from its Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in September this year.

The company, one of the largest bankruptcy stories in history, filed for Chapter 11 in December 2002.

Alongside Conseco, Kirkland is continuing to act as debtor’s adviser for United Airlines parent company UAL, which 10 months into its bankruptcy owes the firm $21.6m (£12.4m).

In contrast, Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal has so far reaped $9.1m (£5.2m) in fees for UAL representing the company’s creditors committee. So far, advisory costs have totalled $70.6m (£40.5m).

On Conseco, lead counsel for the unsecured creditors Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson can expect $6.6m (£3.8m) in billings, while Saul Ewing, acting for the trust preferred creditors, is set to receive $4.7m (£2.7m). Total fees, including payment for legal and consultancy advice, have reached $90m (£51.6m).

It is understood that most of the costs have been paid to the advisers, although final fees are expected to be approved in February next year.