As I continue to be woefully late on an essay on how to reform the review and awarding of fees to professionals in chapter 11 bankruptcy cases (don’t worry, Maryland J. of Bus. & Tech. Law–it’s coming!), I’m trying to think of other areas in which those who are billing for professional services don’t really have to “push their bills across the table to a real client” but to a stand-in for a real client. Lawyers who represent humans have to push their bills across the table (figuratively speaking) to those humans, who can then stare the lawyers in the eye and ask why the lawyers engaged in certain tasks. Lawyers who represent even fictional people, like corporations, have to push their bills across the table to a live corporate officer/manager, who likewise can look at the bills and ask hard questions. But lawyers who represent the debtor-in-possession or the creditors’ committee are representing fiduciaries, and those fiduciaries aren’t always all “across the table” in the same way that clients might be outside of bankruptcy. Do these professionals have to do more defensive lawyering than lawyers are doing if they’re not representing fiduciaries? Are lawyers who do class action litigation in the same boat? Any thoughts?
(Posted by Nancy Rapoport)