Fee Tracker: Super Bowl, Patent Battles and More
UPDATE: 1/31/14, 9:10 a.m. EST. Gibson Dunn's hourly rate in the New Jersey Bridgegate probe has been added to the 21st paragraph of this story.
In our latest installment of the Fee Tracker, The Am Law Daily has tallied up the legal fees paid by several leading nonprofit organizations in the news, such as the NY/NJ Super Bowl XLVIII Host Committee, the Alfred E. Mann Foundation for Scientific Research and the UJA–Federation of New York, which recently hired a top Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison litigation partner as its new leader. The purpose of this week’s exercise is to shed light on the nonprofit sector, a relatively unexplored clientele of Am Law 200 firms. It should of course be noted that many of these firms, their lawyers and employees contribute to some of the charitable causes listed below.
NFL, Super Bowl Pay Big for Some Firms
As the National Football League prepares for its first cold-weather Super Bowl in recent memory—MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., is the site of the big game this weekend—its commissioner, Roger Goodell, remains focused on bringing in $25 billion in annual revenue by 2027.
Standing in the way of the world’s most profitable professional sports league is a $765 million concussion settlement with ex-players that awaits the approval of a skeptical federal judge in Philadelphia, as noted this week by sibling publication The Legal Intelligencer. While attorney fees for plaintiffs lawyers led by Seeger Weiss are not included in that sum—the NFL has reportedly offered to pick up the cost if the fees do not exceed $112.5 million—some are concerned that future players could find the compensation fund set up on their behalf short of cash.
The Am Law Daily has previously reported on the NFL’s nonprofit status—each of the league’s 32 teams pay their own taxes—and last year we cited tax records from the league’s collective bargaining arm that showed how lucrative a client pro football could be for lawyers from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld ($5.4 million), Covington & Burling ($6.7 million) and Proskauer ($2.8 million). (U.S. Senate records show that since the beginning of 2012 the NFL has paid $815,000 to Covington to lobby on gambling, disability and retirement benefits and sports programming issues.)
A more recent tax filing by the New York–based league is not yet available, but one did catch our eye by the host committee for this weekend’s Super Bowl XLVIII. A 2011 tax filing by the nonprofit shows it paid $230,719 that year to All-Counsel, a New York–based firm started by Proskauer alum and former New York Jets general counsel Andrew Lee. Since January 2011, Lee has served as the bid committee’s general counsel, while an associate at his firm, Michael Corcoran, is listed as the committee’s associate counsel.
Nation’s Largest Jewish Charity a Friend to Am Law 100 Lawyers
Paul Weiss litigation partner Eric Goldstein has been named CEO of the UJA–Federation of New York, the nation’s largest Jewish charity, with roughly $900 million in assets, according to a spokeswoman. Goldstein, 54, had previously headed the UJA’s lawyers division.
The New York–based UJA, formed through a 1986 merger between the United Jewish Appeal and the Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, will install Goldstein as its new CEO on July 1. (The Am Law Daily and sibling publication the New York Law Journal reported earlier this week on Goldstein's hire and potential compensation.)
In a statement, Paul Weiss chair Brad Karp praised Goldstein’s work for the firm, including chairing its pro bono committee, wishing him success at the UJA. The organization happens to be holding its "Lawyers Main Event" on Jan. 30 at the Pierre hotel in Manhattan, where it will honor Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz litigation partner Theodore Mirvis and Kirkland & Ellis restructuring partner Edward Sassower.
The UJA’s most recent tax filing for 2011 shows that it paid $642,000 to Proskauer Rose for legal services. The firm’s past chairman, Alan Jaffe, served as president of the UJA during the mid-1990s, and the nonprofit holds an annual fundraiser honoring Judge Joseph Proskauer, a name partner at the firm who died in 1971.
Charities Seek to Shut Off Fossil Fuel Investments
A group of 17 leading nonprofits with nearly $2 billion in investments banded together this week and announced that they would begin withdrawing money from fossil fuel companies and put those assets into clean energy.