Arizona Republic: “An 88-year-old lady left destitute, a big chunk of her life savings sucked dry by people who were supposed to protect her, may yet get some of her money back. Brian Theut, the guardian ad litem appointed to look out for Marie Long, has asked a judge to order Phoenix attorney Brenda Church to return half of the $110,000 that her law firms collected from Marie’s trust between 2005 and 2008. Church was the attorney for Marie’s niece, Genevieve Olen, who oversaw Marie’s money until late last year, when there wasn’t anything left to oversee. Meanwhile, Church has filed paperwork seeking court approval of another $233,000, money she (or rather her law firm, Frazer, Ryan, Goldberg & Arnold) collected from Marie’s dwindling account in 2009.”
See “Court Blasts K&L Gates Team’s Huge Fee and ‘Unnecessary Lawyering‘” where 18 attorneys and paralegals ran up a bill of $800,000 representing an estate valued at $1.2 million. The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court said:
In the present case, a total of eighteen attorneys and paralegals were representing Folan, a remarkable number especially when one takes into account the motion judge’s view that the theories advanced by the contestants were not “overly complex.” Even a cursory review of the billing records suggests that among all these attorneys there was duplication of effort, and a fair amount of billing for the time of two or more attorneys who were attending the same hearing. … Moreover, at least some of the pretrial litigation activity, especially a number of Folan’s pretrial motions … and her motions for reconsideration, reasonably could be seen as unnecessary overlawyering in a case such as this, where the decedent’s entire estate was worth $1.2 million.
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