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LeClairRyan Trustee Taps Foley & Lardner as Special Counsel

Jan. 31, 2020, 10:02 PM

The Chapter 7 trustee for defunct law firm LeClairRyan is asking a federal court to allow her to retain Foley & Lardner as special counsel to investigate and pursue claims on behalf of the bankruptcy estate.

“The Trustee believes that these potential litigation claims may be of substantial value but requires the assistance of counsel to assist in her investigation, evaluation, and, if necessary, pursuit of such claims,” interim trustee Lynn L. Tavenner’s Jan. 30 application with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia said.

Claims investigated would include fraudulent transfers, excessive compensation, breaches of fiduciary duty, and unjust enrichment, the application says. It adds that Foley & Lardner won’t pursue any legal malpractice claims against former LeClairRyan attorneys or their current employers.

Richmond-based LeClairRyan filed for Chapter 11 protection in Virginia after announcing back in August that it would dissolve following years of decreasing revenue and a slew of partner departures.

The case was converted to Chapter 7 in on Oct. 4.

According to Tavenner’s application, Foley & Lardner would charge its standard hourly rates, subject to a 10% discount, for its investigative work.

It says that the hourly rates of the attorneys who will likely work on the matter range from $355 to $1,250, and the hourly rate for lead attorney on the is currently $1,050.

For the litigation phase, Foley & Lardner would be paid “pursuant to a 30 percent contingency fee,” which is reasonable for firms like Foley & Lardner doing this type of work, the application says.

Tavenner has already asked that Tavenner & Beran in Richmond serve as bankruptcy counsel in the case, according to the filing. The firm would work in conjunction with Foley & Lardner.

The case is In re LeClairRyan, PLLC, Bankr. E.D. Va., No. 3:19-bk-34574, application filed 1/30/20.

To contact the reporter on this story: Melissa Heelan Stanzione in Washington at mstanzione@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Jessie Kokrda Kamens at jkamens@bloomberglaw.com; Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com

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