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Lawyers Picnic: FTX Counsel and Advisors Rake in $34M in January

According to court filings, the legal firms, investment banks, and consulting firms representing FTX in its bankruptcy case billed the crypto exchange $34.18 million in January. According to a March 6 filing, FTX’s chief restructuring officer and new CEO, John J. Ray III, charged $1,300 an hour in February and made $305,000. In January, US legal firms Sullivan & Cromwell, Quinn Emmanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, and Landis Rath & Cobb invoiced $16.9 million, $1.44 million, and $684,000, respectively.

14,569 hours—over 600 days—were billed by Sullivan & Cromwell lawyers and personnel. Some partners earned $2,165 per hour, while paralegals and legal analysts earned $425–$595. 

Discovery, asset disposal, and general inquiry cost the most. It sent FTX a $7.5 million February bill. Ray submitted a court application on Jan. 17 to maintain Sullivan & Cromwell as legal counsel, stating that they had helped him contain the “dumpster fire” he was given.On Jan. 14, U.S. Trustee Andrew Vara objected to the law firm’s retention, arguing that Sullivan & Cromwell had neglected to disclose its FTX ties.

Landis Rath & Cobb, FTX’s special counsel, spent several hours in court. The firm charged FTX administrators $684,000, including expenses. Some 180 attorneys and 50 non-lawyers from the three legal firms worked on the matter, primarily from Sullivan & Cromwell.

AlixPartners billed $2.1 million for January forensics consultation. FTX’s DeFi products and tokens were forensically analyzed for over half of the firm’s time.

Alvarez & Marsal charged $12.5 million for 17,100 hours of avoidance, financial analysis, and accounting services

Perella Weinberg Partners charged $450,000 per month plus more than $50,000 for restructuring strategy preparation and third-party contact. The law firms have at least six months of work before FTX’s October trial. According to recent rumors, the case’s fees might reach hundreds of millions, rivaling New York-based legal firm Weil Gotshal’s $440 million from the 2008 Lehman Brothers bankruptcy.


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