Running up the bill | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Running up the bill

Posted By on Tue, Jul 31, 2007 at 12:45 PM

Funny thing. Those who decry lawyers and their fees and their deleterious impact on the Little Rock School District save most of their bile for John Walker, who hasn't been paid a dime by the district in years for desegegregation litigation.

You want to see some legal bills, get a load of the $70,000 tab Master Jess Askew and his Gang of Six lawyers at Williams and Anderson are seeking -- so far -- from the Little Rock School District for some mixed representation of departing Superintendent Roy Brooks over the course of one month. They claim to have prevailed in a federal court suit. Funny, my recollection is that the judge dismissed the suit after Brooks lost the key point, an attempt to disqualify democratically elected school board members from having any authority over Brooks. He was able to turn a suspension hearing into a firing proceeding, however.

UPDATE: Make that $73,000. The boys from Dewey Gigham and Howe have submitted some more expense claims.

In any case, here's their petition. Here's their  list of hours spent on the case. Here's the itemized billing, up to $350 an hour for senior partner Phil Anderson's "review" of sundry things and $260 an hour for Master Jess. $1,050 to review a letter? Good work if you can get it.

Point of curiosity: The billing seems to begin after activity in behalf of Brooks had already begun. Not, say, with a session with client Brooks for a preliminary discussion. The bills seem more in the vein of continuing work. Pro bono in the beginning? On someone else's bill?

This bill, it's worth noting, is roughly 75 percent more than the $40,000 the School Board's attorney, Chip Welch's firm, billed for defending the School Board in the same matter. Legal world turned upside down. Defense firm becomes a plaintiff's lawyer. Plaintiff's lawyer becomes defense lawyer. See result.

Also, I don't think we've seen the last of attempted Williams and Anderson billings in the Brooks matter.

So, yes, please. Get us out of court.

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