Cleary Gottlieb criticised for charging out top lawyer at £1,131 an hour

‘No justification at all’ for eye-watering fee, guidelines Lord Justice Males

A Court docket of Enchantment choose has criticised Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton for charging “more than double” commonplace hourly charges.

The agency accepted the sums claimed have been in extra of the rule of thumb charges, however instructed the court docket “that is almost always the case in competition litigation”.

Lord Justice Males, ruling on the prices of enchantment in Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd & Ors v LG Display Co. Ltd & Anor, mentioned this was “no justification at all”.

“If a rate in excess of the guideline rate is to be charged to the paying party, a clear and compelling justification must be provided,” mentioned Lord Males. “It is not enough to say that the case is a commercial case, or a competition case, or that it has an international element, unless there is something about these factors in the case in question which justifies exceeding the guideline rate.”

Cleary Gottlieb had efficiently represented the respondents within the enchantment and submitted a schedule claiming prices of £72,818. These included the prices of its solicitors, who invoice in US {dollars}, however the court docket transformed as prices between £801.40 and £1,131.75 for Grade A payment earners and between £443.27 and £704 for Grade C payment earners.

The appellant pointed out these charges have been nicely above, and in some instances greater than double, the advisable hourly charges for central London corporations engaged on “very heavy commercial and corporate work”.

The steering recommends Grade A (solicitors and authorized executives with over eight years’ expertise) ought to cost £512 per hour, with Grade C (these with below 4 years’ expertise) set at £270.

Lord Males famous the enchantment befell over in the future, was not documentation heavy and centred round a “modest” declare of £900,000. He accepted the respondent’s submission that it allotted work to extra junior members the place potential.

Accordingly, the court docket lower the respondent’s prices award by virtually 1 / 4 to £55,000.

Cleary Gottlieb has been approached for remark.

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