Class Action Claims: Avoiding Attorney Fee Recovery Pitfalls

Asserting or Challenging Reasonableness of Fees and Anticipating Tax Consequences

Recording of a 90-minute CLE webinar with Q&A

Conducted on Thursday, May 16, 2013

Recorded event now available

or call 1-800-926-7926
Program Materials

This CLE program will provide class counsel with a review of attorney fees issues for all sides involved, such as determining whether fees are sufficiently reasonable, understanding tax implications for plaintiffs, and avoiding ethical pitfalls.


Examining requests for attorney compensation upon a class judgment or settlement and determining what constitutes reasonable fees is problematic for courts. The court may take one of several approaches: the lodestar, the percentage, the multifactor or a blended method.

Different standards of review can significantly impact what the class defendant must pay. Awards of attorney fees, however, can also have consequences for plaintiffs by causing a taxable event on funds they will never receive.

Counsel must also anticipate and prepare for ethical risks by ensuring that negotiations and requests for recovery do not breach a fiduciary duty or create a conflict of interest.

Listen as our panel of experienced class action attorneys examines legal issues involved with attorney fees in class actions. The panel will discuss the different standards courts use to review reasonableness in class action awards and settlements, tax implications of attorney fees for the class plaintiff, ethics considerations, and best practices for class counsel in setting fee requests and for defense counsel in scrutinizing proposed fees.



  1. Attorney fee overview
    1. Legal justifications for fees: fee shifting statutes, common fund doctrines, common benefit rules, ethics considerations
    2. Court determinations of reasonableness: multifactor, lodestar, percentage, blended methodologies
  2. Tax implications
  3. Best practices


The panel will review these and other key questions:

  • What is the lodestar approach to determining appropriateness of attorney fees, and how does it differ from percentage or multifactor methodologies?
  • How are cy pres charitable contributions being used to justify fees?
  • What tax consequences may be triggered depending on whether a class suit is opt-in or opt-out?

Following the speaker presentations, you'll have an opportunity to get answers to your specific questions during the interactive Q&A.


Elizabeth Erickson
Elizabeth Erickson

McDermott Will & Emery

Ms. Erickson's practice concentrates on tax controversies and tax litigation before the IRS Examinations Division...  |  Read More

Jeffrey S. Jacobson
Jeffrey S. Jacobson

Debevoise & Plimpton

He focuses his practice on the defense of consumer and securities class actions and on the e-Discovery challenges...  |  Read More

Amanda Arnold Sansone
Amanda Arnold Sansone

Carlton Fields

Her practice is focused on complex commercial litigation with an emphasis on class action defense. She has experience...  |  Read More

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