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U.S. Supreme Court Hears Baker Botts’ Case About Bankruptcy Compensation


On February 25, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral argument in Baker Botts v. ASARCO, No. 14-103. The case stems from Baker Botts’ representation of ASARCO during its bankruptcy proceedings, a case which the bankruptcy judge described as perhaps the “most successful Chapter 11 bankruptcy in history.” As part of that work, Baker Botts won a $7 billion fraudulent transfer verdict against ASARCO’s parent company, forcing the parent company to pay all of ASARCO’s creditors 100 cents on the dollar. When Baker Botts filed its fee application to be paid for its work, ASARCO’s parent company objected and forced Baker Botts into substantial litigation to defend its fee application. The question before the Supreme Court was whether bankruptcy courts may award compensation to bankruptcy lawyers for the time spent defending a fee application against meritless objections. Baker Botts partner and chairman of the Supreme Court and Constitutional Law practice Aaron M. Streett presented oral argument on behalf of the petitioners. The United States sided with Baker Botts and also participated in the oral argument.

“Baker Botts lawyers were pleased to have the opportunity to present arguments to the United States Supreme Court on this important issue. Bankruptcy courts have responsibly exercised discretion for decades to award fees when a bankruptcy professional is forced to spend time defeating meritless objections to his fee application. Baker Botts believes that the Court should allow bankruptcy courts to continue this practice, which contributes to the smooth functioning of our bankruptcy system by ensuring that debtors are able to obtain skilled counsel and by discouraging wasteful objections to professional fees.”

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Baker Botts is an international law firm of approximately 700 lawyers practicing throughout a network of 13 offices around the globe. Based on our experience and knowledge of our clients' industries, we are recognized as a leading firm in the technology, energy, and life sciences sectors. Since 1840, we have provided creative and effective legal solutions for our clients while demonstrating an unrelenting commitment to excellence. For more information, please visit

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