There are many firsts that the modern lawyer has chalked up – the blac…

There are many firsts that the modern lawyer has chalked up – the blackberry drafting, the class action fee-hauls – but now there’s a new frontier, financial of course . . the $1000-an-hour fee. The WSJ reports.

The hourly rates of the country’s top lawyers are increasingly coming with something new — a comma.

A few attorneys crossed into $1,000-per-hour billing before this year, but recent moves to the four-figure mark in New York, which sets trends for legal markets around the country, are seen as a significant turning point.

On Sept. 1, New York’s Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP will raise its top rate to more than $1,000 from $950. Firm partner Barry Ostrager, a litigator, says he will be one of the firm’s thousand-dollar billers, along with private-equity specialist Richard Beattie and antitrust lawyer Kevin Arquit. The top biller at New York’s Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP hit $1,000 per hour earlier this year. At Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, also of New York, bankruptcy attorney Brad Scheler, now at $995 per hour, will likely soon charge $1,000.

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