BAR/BRI may be paying $49 million to law students who overpaid for test materials, but it won’t be paying the lawyers at Los Angeles-based McGuire Woods (free reg. req.) who secured the class action settlement.
McGuire Woods lost its latest round of appeals when U.S. District Judge Manuel Real ruled earlier this month that the firm violated ethics laws and denied its $12 million in attorneys fees. McGuire Woods had offered incentive payments to some, but not all, of the named plaintiffs in the class action against BAR/BRI, Ryan Rodriguez v. West Publishing Corp., No. 05cv3222 (C.D. Calif.).
Another plaintiff’s firm had objected to the fees, arguing that the class representative had no reason to push for a higher settlement once their incentive payments capped out. That created a conflict of interest for McGuire Woods, they argued, who ended up representing two sets of plaintiffs with opposing interests. Judges at the Ninth Circuit agreed with that reasoning last April, and tossed the case back to Real.
The Los Angeles-based firm can still file a motion for reconsideration with Real or appeal again to the Ninth Circuit.
Sidney Kanazawa at McGuire Woods declined to comment.