LAWSUITS: Fees, Fie! Foes Fume

Fees, Fie! Foes Fume

What is a good lawyer worth? The top rate reported last November in a survey of 250 U.S. firms was $450 an hour, charged by a New York divorce attorney. But that is neatly topped by the $600 an hour that the Hunt brothers of Dallas are paying Stephen Susman, 45, a Houston legal eagle. The struggling oil barons hired Susman last month to direct their celebrated battle against 23 U.S. and foreign creditor banks, which include New York City's Citibank, San Francisco's Bank of America and RepublicBank of Dallas. Susman's upfront retainer: a cool $1 million.

Those exalted fees drew...

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