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GM Retention Applications

posted by Stephen Lubben

The key retention applications were filed on Friday, and by the morning we can expect the inevitable gasping story about how Harvey Miller bills at $950 an hour.  The press keeps doing this, and the big firms have no reason to stop them, given that most of the cost of a case comes from the middle of the billing structure.

Reviewing the Weil application, I was struck by how dreadfully dull retention applications really are. I mean, the Weil GM application is essentially the same basic application that Weil/Skadden/etc. have been filing for at least 15 years now -- I have the binders in my office to prove it.

Why hasn't this been reduced to one page ("We want to retain Weil Arps & Ellis to do the typical things that debtors' counsel does in big chapter 11 cases. They charge a lot, but we think they're worth it. As shown by the attached, they meet the requirements of §327(a).") with an attached declaration that has the case-specific (i.e., interesting) information?


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I have not been in legal practice long, but I have tentatively concluded that lawyers are highly superstitious. If a form worked before, then it will be used again. If something says "all [x]", then "including" must be added, lest "all [x]" be deemed to exclude some of "[x]," despite nobody being able to point to an example of that happening. If something says including, then it must also say "without limitation," despite the fact that nobody can find a case in which a contract was construed that way. While dressed up in the language of prudence, it is identical in function if not form to those who throw salt over their shoulder after spilling it-- there's no reason to think it makes a difference, but they might as well be 'prudent.' The same is at work here-- no need to change or streamline something that works.

Who cares, fake bankruptcies, fake car companies, fake banks gmac/ally. Change name, same POS. We gonna loose billions, and then REAL bankrupties start. Please quit this mess of bailing out bad run firms. No good will come out of it. PERIOD.

taxpayers loose everything . . .so from NOW and goes on for a few more years, bend over.

Applications to be employed look the way they do because the applications are required to tell the court why the lawyer is to be hired, what they are going to do and what makes the lawyer worth what is to be paid. Not only that, the applications look the way they do because this is what bankruptcy judges expect and want.

As a bankruptcy trustee, I can't get a lawyer hired in even a small case unless I tell the court what the lawyer is going to do - for example pursue avoidance actions and file claims objections. Now that the judges are informed, what will they do with this priceless information? Probably archive it in CM-ECF. I'm sure that this information is a real revelation. So we comply. The judges will be passing on our fee applications after all.

It's cheaper and more efficient to use precedent documents than to do the work on a custom basis in each case. It's also Kabuki theater, isn't it?

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