October 22, 2019
A recent Law 360 story by Ryan Boysen, “Weil Gotshal Seek $2M for Work on PG&E Case,” reports that Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP is asking for $2 million in fees and costs for its work in August on the massive bankruptcy of California’s Pacific Gas and Electric Co., with billable hours from just two partners accounting for nearly half of the haul. In a fee application, the firm said it put in about $2.5 million worth of work into the PG&E case throughout August, just as a proposed $24 billion Chapter 11 reorganization plan came into focus. After a customary 20% haircut is applied, it brings the total to about $2 million.
Nearly $1 million of that comes from the billable hours of just two attorneys: Weil Gotshal’s Stephen Karotkin, who worked 300 hours, and Jessica Liou, who worked 275 hours. While Weil Gotshal is the primary firm representing PG&E, the nation’s largest power utility has retained lawyers at several other firms in various capacities. One report estimated in March that PG&E had spent at least $84 million in attorney fees up to that point. It’s not clear how much more overall the utility has since spent. That's not to mention the powerhouse restructuring attorneys representing the committees, creditors and other stakeholders who are all vying for an advantage in the massive case.
Earlier this month PG&E criticized the court-appointed fee examiner for attempting to put its attorneys on too tight of a leash, saying the examiner's suggested cost-cutting measures and fee caps were too strict. PG&E, the nation's largest utility, filed for bankruptcy in January after racking up more than $30 billion in potential liabilities tied to its alleged role in causing a series of wildfires that tore through the Golden State in 2017 and 2018, killing 130 people and destroying billions of dollars in property.