Fee Tracker: Apple's Bromwich Battle and More

, The Am Law Daily



The Am Law Daily tallies how much Am Law 200 firms are earning on a variety of engagements, from a Goodwin Procter partner’s role as Apple’s court-appointed compliance monitor to Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi’s representation in a credit card-swipe class action and a Winston & Strawn partner’s move in-house with a longtime client.

Apple and Goodwin Partner Go to War

Microsoft, Google, Samsung. Apple is no stranger in battling deep-pocketed adversaries. Now the Cupertino, Calif.-based technology giant is taking on New York–based Goodwin Procter litigation partner Michael Bromwich.

Bromwich—a former Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson litigation partner hired by the Obama administration in 2010 to serve as the government’s offshore oil drilling monitor—returned to private practice at Goodwin in May 2012. Last October, he was appointed to serve as the federal monitor overseeing Apple’s compliance with federal antitrust laws in the wake of the company’s fight with the Justice Department over whether it had conspired with publishers to fix e-book prices.

It didn’t take long for Apple and Bromwich—who in conjunction with his consulting firm The Bromwich Group is billing the company roughly $1,100 per hour, plus a 15 percent administrative fee, for his services—to butt heads. As sibling publication The Litigation Daily reported at the time, Apple moved unsuccessfully in December to rein in the Goodwin partner, whose fees for the first two weeks of the assignment reached nearly $140,000. (Bromwich has also retained former Fried Frank colleague Bernard Nigro, who chairs the latter firm’s antitrust group, as counsel at $1,025 per hour.)

In court papers, Apple has accused Bromwich of acting as a de facto “independent prosecutor” trying to rake in outsize fees while conducting a lengthy inquiry and seeking to conduct his own interviews with company executives. The U.S. Department of Justice has come to Bromwich’s defense, accusing Apple of character assassination, and Bromwich has also put up a fight, noting that Apple's lawyers from Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher charge comparable—if not higher—hourly rates.

Last week a federal judge in Manhattan denied another request by Apple to disqualify Bromwich entirely, according to The Litigation Daily. But on Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit granted Apple a temporary stay from Bromwich’s reach—and a brief reprieve from his mounting bills—until a three-judge panel can further consider the issue.

Big Payday for Robins Kaplan

Robins Kaplan may have been on the losing end of a recent decision in a patent fight involving client Medtronic, but the firm can take solace in collecting a piece of the largest attorney fee award every handed out in a private antitrust case.

The Litigation Daily reports the firm is in line to reap some of that windfall thanks to last month’s ruling by a federal judge in Brooklyn, who awarded $544.8 million in attorney fees to the plaintiffs firms that represented a class of 12 million merchants in their $5.7 billion fee-swipe settlement with Visa, Mastercard and a group of banks. Robins Kaplan, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd and Berger & Montague submitted papers seeking about 55 percent of that sum, and could wind up splitting as much as $270 million, according to The Litigation Daily.

Mayer Brown Suffers Fee Woes on Two Fronts

Earlier this month, the office of Illinois Gov. Patrick Quinn III—brother of Schiff Hardin litigation leader Thomas Quinn—announced that Chapman and Cutler would serve as the state’s new bond counsel. The legal services contract, worth roughly $1 million a year, had been held by Mayer Brown since 2011.

The bond counsel selection came some six months after former Mayer Brown chairman and current firm partner Tyrone Fahner was caught up in a controversy over public comments he made last summer encouraging Wall Street ratings agencies to downgrade Illinois’ bond ratings because of the state’s fiscal woes.

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