BIgLaw Robbing Bill Cosby Blind?
Convicted criminal, and former comedian, Bill Cosby, hired the son of Mel Sharples, diner owner in Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore (movie) and Alice (TV series), to represent him in multiple lawsuits over his reputed long-standing drugging and raping of women. Now, it appears he might have been “robbed blind” by his lawyers.
Christopher Tayback (son of award winning actor Vic Tayback who played Sharples for years) and his firm, Quinn Emanuel, claimed they were owed $9.2 million for just nine months worth of work. In other words, this firm, with over 800 attorneys and 23 offices, was billing over $1M per month. Admittedly, Cosby has a slew of legal matters pending, but Quinn Emanuel’s bill showed that over 11,000 hours were billed by 28 lawyers and 10 staffers.
Doing the math, that equates to an average billable hour of about $836. Given that law clerks — typically law students who do not have licenses to practice law — billed out at $365/hour, it’s easy to see how quickly the bill escalated. It also means that, on average, everyone who worked on Cosby’s matters during this period billed 32 hours per week — a seemingly disproportionately high number in a 40 hour work week. As the Associated Press noted, the bill included “$48,000 for a lawyer’s work reading two gossip novels and a book about the Playboy Mansion, where one of the alleged Cosby assaults occurred.”
Cosby has contested this bill and sued in a California court. He claims that the firm operated inefficiently and charged him unconscionable fees (up to $1,175/hour for some lawyers). He also claims that Quinn Emanuel and its lawyers took advantage of him because he is blind.
Cosby, who is serving a 3-10 year sentence in prison, replaced Quinn Emanuel with Liner LLP, a boutique litigation firm which was ultimately absorbed into an even bigger BigLaw firm, DLA Piper (3,600+ attorneys, $2.6 billion in revenues).