Best Lawyer (2011)

Irving Picard

If by best lawyer, you mean the guy who's raking in the most dough, the clear winner is Irving Picard. At least, he's the guy we know about. Picard is the federal trustee who is handling the clawback of ill-gotten gains from the Bernie Madoff scandal. In late September, Picard and Baker Hostetler—the firm that landed him after he landed the lucrative job as trustee—asked the federal court for $45 million in fees for four months' work earlier this year. Wow, that seems like a lot, right? Wrong. His total fees are now at $224 million since Madoff's arrest nearly three years ago. That's almost as much as the $312 million in checks mailed in early October to investors bilked by Madoff. Picard himself has not put all that loot in his own pocket. In fact, his personal share, for now, is only in the single-digit millions. But that's not counting how he and the firm he works for will divvy up the loot. His foes do allege that he's charging, in effect, $5,803 for a day's work. Billable hours, indeed.


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