Kirkland waives $400K from bill

Kirkland & Ellis is giving up half a million dollars in fees as it prepares to answer searing criticism over its role on the Fleming Companies bankruptcy by the chief bankruptcy judge in Delaware.

Chief Judge Mary Walrath has scheduled a hearing for 10 February, when it is expected that she will reduce the $25m (£13.8m) of billings and expenses requested by debtor’s counsel Kirkland and Pachulski Stang Ziehl Young Jones & Weintraub.

Kirkland has said it will forgo $401,338 (£220,760) in fees, while Pachulski Stang will waive $158,169 (£87,000) out of both firms’ quarterly fee requests.

For 1 March-31 May last year, Kirkland asked for $6m (£3.3m) in fees and $293,000 (£161,170) in expenses, while Pachulski Stang submitted a request for $1.4m (£770,100) in billings and $555,000 (£305,280) for additional costs for 1 April-30 June 2003.

In December, Judge Walrath published a litany of claims related to the bankruptcy of grocery group Fleming Cos.

These included the assertion that the firms made misrepresentations to the court and the opposing counsel, that there was an excessive number of lawyers on the case, and that there were far too many senior, and therefore more expensive, attorneys acting.

Elsewhere, Kirkland has submitted a bill totalling $59.7m (£32.8m) for fees and expenses on the bankruptcy of UAL, the parent company of United Airlines.

The fees, which include $3.8m (£2.1m) of expenses, are for a year’s worth of work since the carrier filed for bankruptcy on 9 December 2002.

Neither firm was available for comment at the time of going to press.