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Appeals court upholds denial of fees to McGuireWoods

McGuireWoods’ failure to provide full disclosure of incentives for some plaintiffs was labeled an “egregious” violation of ethical rules as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a complete denial of fees for the Richmond-based firm for work on a class action antitrust case.

The firm represented would-be lawyers who claimed West Publishing Corp. and Kaplan Inc. conspired to monopolize the market for the BAR/BRI bar review course in violation of federal antitrust laws, reports The National Law Journal (registration required).

The class action resulted in a $49-million settlement.

In a statement to the NLJ, the firm said the court applied a legal standard that was “not generally recognized” at the time the incentive agreements were entered into or at the time the attorney who entered into them joined the firm.

The settlement included incentive payments of between $10,000 and $75,000 for five named McGuireWoods clients. The incentive awards presented a “disturbing appearance of impropriety,” the trial judge said.

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