Fee Requests for Standard Compensation by Debtor’s Counsel in 13 Cases

January 2013Articles ABI Ethics Committee Newsletter

A recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decision considered whether a request for compensation submitted by a chapter 13 debtor’s counsel under the standard compensation scheme set forth in the court’s local rules (i.e., “no-look” fees) may be reduced on the basis that such fees are unreasonable for the services provided. The Fifth Circuit ultimately concluded that standard fee compensation, whether it is under statutory or local rule, is generally presumed reasonable and should be awarded in full. Accordingly, the court held that only in certain limited circumstances should courts review the reasonableness factors and consider fee awards less than the proscribed compensation.

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