Conseco’s bankruptcy adds to US law firms fee bonanza

The boom in restructuring fees for US lawyers is continuing unabated as Conseco becomes the latest bankruptcy to add to the growing cash pile.

According to a recent bankruptcy filing, a total of $10.2m (£6.3m) in fees and expenses have so far accumulated on reorganising the US financial services group, which filed for Chapter 11 protection last December.

Over half, or $5.67m (£3.5m), has been billed by the debtor’s counsel Kirkland & Ellis for the period ended in February. The deal adds to the hefty fees Kirkland is earning on the giant United Airlines restructuring, which has seen the firm rack up $5m (£3.1m).

By the end of February, Fried Frank Harris Shriver & Jacobson, as the bondholders’ counsel, billed $933,300 (£580,700), while Philadelphia’s Saul Ewing is hoping to be reimbursed to the tune of $373,400 (£232,300).

PricewaterhouseCoopers, which at $990 (£616) per hour for each of the two senior managers involved, has so far billed $448,500 (£279,000).

It is widely expected that the fees could escalate even further, since Conseco, at $6.4bn (£4bn), is the third-largest bankruptcy in US history, following those of Enron and Worldcom.