Legal brief: Fees bonanza for Links

Lawyers at Linklaters must be rubbing their hands with glee this week after it was revealed that the magic circle firm is in for a fees windfall following its advice on the administration of Lehman Brothers in the UK.

As we first reported on Tuesday (20 October) the legal advisers acting on the insolvency have racked up a whopping £60.5m in fees during the last year. Linklaters is leading the advice for administrators Tony Lomas and Steven Pearson, although the £60.5m figure includes all legal fees including those to barristers (read article).

It’s hardly surprising the legal bill is so huge since Linklaters had up to 30 partners working on the deal. But some posters on Lawyer2B.com’s sister title TheLawyer.com question whether the firm is justified in charging such high rates. “I have no objections to Linklaters’ appointment but it is hard to justify standard £300-£800 p/h fees when so many people have been cleaned out. On this type of insolvency I feel that ceiling fees need to be set. It’s not as if Linklaters would have rejected the appointment,” writes one poster.

Elsewhere, Allen & Overy, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, Herbert Smith and Slaughter and May have scored roles on the biggest infrastructure deal of the year – the sale by BAA of Gatwick Airport to Global Infrastructure Partners (read article).

Despite making £1.5bn from the sale, BAA is not best pleased at being strong-armed into losing one of its finest assets and is currently fighting the commission at the Competition Appeals Tribunal.

BAA claims that one of the commission’s members, Professor Peter Moizer, was conflicted by his role at the Greater Manchester Pension Fund, part of a consortium bidding for Gatwick. Like a school playground scrap, it’s all rather bad-tempered and messy. But it is a veritable bonanza for law firms advising.