Kirkland & Ellis, the law firm representing UAL Corp in its bankruptcy proceedings in Chicago, has requested $US32.4 million in professional fees and expenses for the first year of the airline’s case, according to court documents. Of that amount, $US30.3 million is compensation for Kirkland’s attorneys, which is sometimes more than $US700 an hour, and $US2million is for expenses such as copy making, airfares and court filing costs.

UAL, parent of United Airlines, filed for federal bankruptcy protection on December 9, 2002.

The Chicago airline, which is undergoing an overhaul of its business operations and cost structure, said it remained on track to emerge from bankruptcy during the first half of the year.

The recent disclosure, which includes the period from the bankruptcy filing itself through to December 31, 2003 – or just over a year – was made as part of a monthly fee and expense summary required of all professionals under bankruptcy law.

The submissions are then reviewed and sometimes revised by a formal fee committee before the actual disbursement of funds.

Kirkland & Ellis so far has received “approved” fees and expenses of $US18.6 million and $US1.3 million, respectively.

A quarterly fee application filed to the court on November 14 last year for $US7.4 million is still pending, as are monthly filings made on November 25, December 29 and January 26.

In the month of December, lead attorney James H.M. Sprayregen, a Kirkland partner, billed for slightly more than 60 hours of work at $US730 an hour for a total of $US43,873.

Kirkland partner David Seligman billed $US118,128 – the highest of any other attorney – for more than 250 hours of work at a rate of $US460 an hour.

Scroll to Top