FTX Lawyers and Advisors Make Bank

Fees top $145 million as some top lawyers are billing $2,165 per hour

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Michael Vi/Shutterstock, modified by Blockworks

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Looks like FTX’s lawyers and consultants are raking in the dough — for themselves, if not yet for creditors.

The bankrupt crypto exchange is being asked to fork over $145 million for their services, which include investigating the scope and nature of customer entitlements and organization of voluminous corporate records.

The powerhouse law firms Sullivan & Cromwell, Landis Rath & Cobb and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan are all on the case, along with management consulting firms Alvarez & Marsal North America and AlixPartners in the mix.

A string of court filings published late last week showed a breakdown of fees and expenses and details of each firm’s services. Together, they’re asking for a whopping $145 million.

Sullivan & Cromwell requested fees and expenses north of $69.5 million in the period between Nov. 12 and March 31. Expenses were related to activities like printing, messenger service, transcripts, filing fees, work meals, overtime or weekend travel, but over 99% of the total is earmarked for the cadre of 43 lawyers charging $2,165 per hour.

Alvarez & Marsal asked for $53.1 million in fees and expenses worth $1.4 million for the period between Nov. 11 and March 31. The expenses listed were in categories of license fees, lodging, airfare, meals and transportation.

Wilmington, Delaware-based Landis Rath & Cobb asked for $3 million in fees. It also asked to be reimbursed for expenses worth $51,864 for five months, including overnight delivery and conference call services.

Los Angeles-based Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan asked for $8.9 million in fees and $44,854 in expenses. The firm’s services included asset analysis and recovery, avoidance action analysis, bankruptcy litigation and general case administration.

Meanwhile, AlixPartners asked for $15 million in fees and $1.7 million in expenses for its engagement in forensic analysis of financial and accounting data.

FTX’s creditors, meanwhile, were contacted in April by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) on behalf of the Joint Provisional Liquidators, whose efforts are “running independently of, but in parallel with, the ongoing Chapter 11 proceedings in the US,” according to an email seen by Blockworks.

“Customers who believe that they have fiat or digital assets in their name on the FTX.com exchange are encouraged to register their details on the claims portal to allow for future contact by the JPLs and to be kept informed of developments,” the PwC email said.


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