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Quinn Emanuel’s $185 Million Fee Request: Bargain or Rip-off?

Aug. 4, 2020, 1:04 PM

A request by Quinn Emanuel to receive $185 million in fees for a case that required relatively few hours but achieved a huge reward highlights a fundamental argument about whether lawyers should be compensated based on the amount of time they work or the value they bring to a case.

Time-Based: Quinn Emanuel’s lawyers worked nearly 10,000 hours on a class-action case that is returning nearly $4 billion to a group of insurers, meaning the lawyers’ average hourly rate could be larger than $18,500 if granted the full award.

Percentage-Based: The request could be seen as a bargain through a different measurement. The fee works out to 5% of the award, a figure often exceeded on notable securities fraud and antitrust settlements. Roy Strom has the story.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Jerome Ashton in Washington at