Our item from earlier today regarding the respective conflicts of interest for NFL outside lawyer Bob Batterman and NFLPA* outside counsel Jeffrey Kessler has generated a couple of comments that reminded me of something I forgot to post earlier in the week.
Apart from the situation that arises when lawyers are representing multiple pro sports leagues and/or multiple pro sports unions, the lawyers in this case who aren’t on salary are presumably billing for their time by the hour — and those billings go a long way toward paying the bills for the lawyers’ firms.
On Monday, Daniel Kaplan of SportsBusiness Journal reported that the NFLPA* annual report revealed an expenditure of $8.9 million in legal fees on the labor situation for the 12 months in the year that ended on February 28, 2011. Of that amount, Jeffrey Kessler’s firm received $2.87 million.
Bob Batterman’s firm undoubtedly billed the NFL in a similar amount over the same time period.
Surely, those number have grown since the lockout began, and likely at a much higher rate. The payments made through February 28 would reflect, at most, activity through January 31, 2011, given the manner in which most law firms create and submit their invoices. With the legal work spiking dramatically in February 2011 and even more in March, April, and May, an effort to track the legal fees likely looks something like the national debt clock.
Perhaps the post-lockout invoices from the various law firms have helped persuade the parties to focus on getting a deal done. With no money coming in, the last thing either side needs is millions of dollars in monthly legal fees.
Until a deal is done, the best way to control the legal fees is to keep the lawyers out of the process, completely.