The In-House Bar Challenges Excessive Fees for Contract (“Temp”) Lawyers in Citigroup Securities Litigation

  The In-House Bar Challenges Excessive Fees for Contract (“Temp”) Lawyers in
  Citigroup Securities Litigation

Business Wire

WASHINGTON -- March 15, 2013

Today, the advocate and voice of the in-house bar, the Association of
Corporate Counsel (ACC), filed an amicus letter with the United States
District Court for the Southern District of New York to offer the in-house
counsel perspective in Citigroup Securities Litigation. ACC, a global bar
association of more than 30,000 members who are in-house lawyers employed by
over 10,000 organizations, asked the Court to re-calculate inflated fees that
the plaintiffs submitted for contract (“temp”) lawyers.

The letter noted that over the past several years, the market for legal
services has softened significantly. As a result, negotiating power has
shifted from law firms to clients. It also noted that today’s market does not
permit law firms to charge such high mark-ups for temp or contract lawyers. It
continues that in-house counsel have worked to secure more value for every
dollar spent on legal work, without paying significantly marked-up fees for
contract lawyers. According to ACC’s 2011 survey with The Wall Street Journal,
65.1 percent hired the contract lawyers themselves and only 12.3 percent used
contract lawyers hired by law firms.

“In requesting fees for themselves, class action lawyers must live with the
same market forces as everybody else and are not permitted to distort them for
their own gain," said Amar Sarwal, vice president and chief legal strategist
for the Association of Corporate Counsel. “And, since clients across the
country no longer accept huge markups on contract or temp lawyers, courts
shouldn't grant such markups to class action lawyers either,” Sarwal added.

Through ACC's Value Challenge, in-house counsel have worked with law firms to
adopt practical business principles that address changes in the legal market,
such as value-based fee arrangements or project management.

ACC requested that the court re-calculate fees submitted by the plaintiffs’
lawyers to better reflect the reality of today’s market, as legal precedent
requires. As stated in ACC's letter, “the plaintiffs’ fee request ignores
these marketplace realities. Maybe the plaintiffs’ attorneys paid their
contract lawyers far more than the market demanded. Or maybe they padded the
actual rates with the sort of unjustifiable profit margins that paying clients
would refuse. Either way, there is no basis in the law or in the market to
justify the fee request for contract lawyers.”

“The plaintiffs' fee petition reads like it was written during the boom times,
when clients didn't always pay attention to how out of whack legal fees had
become. Unfortunately, for them, clients are far more cost conscious and
value-driven today,” Sarwal added.

For developments on legal fees in Citigroup Securities Litigation, or for
information about ACC’s Value Challenge and advocacy efforts, visit

About ACC: The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) is a global bar
association that promotes the professional and business interests of in-house
counsel through information, education, networking opportunities and advocacy
initiatives. The association, which is celebrating its 30^th anniversary, has
over 30,000 members employed by over 10,000 organizations in more than 75
countries. ACC connects its members to the people and resources necessary for
personal and professional growth. For more information, visit and
follow ACC on Twitter By in-house counsel, for
in-house counsel.^®


Association of Corporate Counsel
Marthea Davis, +1 202-349-1519
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