In almost all estate litigation cases attorneys’ fees become an issue. This law.com article shines the spot light on one case in particular because Greenberg Traurig, one of the country’s largest and well known law firms, is involved. But the issues in dispute are part and parcel of almost all such litigation — which means parties need to anticipate them and plan accordingly.
Here are excerpts from the linked-to story:
Greenberg Traurig has become enmeshed in a bitter family feud between two sisters, one of whom is married to a senior partner at the law firm.
The estranged sisters, Linda J. Spector and Barbara Berlin, had both been named beneficiaries of a trust created in November 2003 by their mother, Eleanor Spector. Eleanor and Linda served as co-trustees until Eleanor’s death in January 2004.
Shortly after her mother’s death, Linda sought to have her then-fiancé, Albert Jacobs, the senior chair of Greenberg Traurig’s national intellectual property practice, appointed co-trustee, arguing that the successor designated in trust, attorney Joel Sankel, had told her over dinner he would step aside.
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Greenberg Traurig billed the estate almost $130,000, which is now at issue in a pending contempt motion. Sankel claims the amount should be repaid to the trust since Greenberg Traurig’s services were retained for the personal benefit of Linda Spector and Jacobs, whom she eventually married.
In the contempt motion, Sankel also noted the disparity between the fees paid to Greenberg Traurig and his own firm in the course of the dispute. He noted that his firm had billed the trust $22,000 in the same time period. He is requesting invoices from Greenberg Traurig to back up charges, some of which he claims were "wholly frivolous."