After years of financial woes and then the destruction of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico in just a few months has already spent $75 million in legal and consulting fees.
Puerto Rico’s Bankruptcy Case
Bankruptcy Judge Laura Taylor Swain up to now has approved less than $50 million in fees. She had already warned attorneys the high costs of attorney’s fees in restructuring of Puerto Rico’s $72 billion debt.
Judge Taylor warned with the case still in its “infant” stages, the last thing Puerto Rico needs is billions spent on attorneys fees. A fee examiner’s report criticized the law firms of duplicating tasks. For example, the fee examiner criticized it was unnecessary to send a dozen attorneys to a hearing where only one or two attorneys will speak, yet, the other ten attorneys are also billing for their time.
The fee examiner said the average hourly rates ranged from $245 an hour for law firms based in Puerto Rico, $775 an hour for New York law firms, with one firm’s hourly rate at $1,425. A total of five law firms accounted for two-thirds of the requested fees.
Creditors and debtors includes the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority, the government of Puerto Rico, and hedge funds groups.
Alexander Hernandez, Esq.
Alexander Hernandez is a bankruptcy attorney practicing in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas and Miami, Florida.