Attorneys' Fees in Class Actions: 2009-2013

32 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2017 Last revised: 4 Feb 2017

See all articles by Theodore Eisenberg

Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell University, Law School (Deceased)

Geoffrey P. Miller

New York University School of Law

Roy Germano

New York University School of Law

Date Written: December 1, 2016

Abstract

We study attorney fee awards in 458 class action settlements reported in the five years from 2009-2013. Despite the financial crisis and its many effects on our national life, little has changed in class action attorneys’ fees. Average percentage fees are in line with prior studies. The key determinant of the fee continues to be the size of the class recovery: the amazingly regular relationship between these variables continues in the present data. We continue to find a “scaling” effect, in the sense that fees as a percentage of the recovery decrease as the size of the recovery increases. As in the previous Eisenberg-Miller studies, we find that fees are a function of risk – larger fees in higher-risk cases – although in the most recent data the effect is only weakly statistically significant. We document an inverse relationship between the percentage fee and the lodestar multiplier: cases with lower percentage fees are associated with higher multipliers. Likewise lodestar multipliers tend to rise with the size of class recovery.

Suggested Citation

Eisenberg, Theodore and Miller, Geoffrey P. and Germano, Roy, Attorneys' Fees in Class Actions: 2009-2013 (December 1, 2016). NYU Law and Economics Research Paper No. 17-02; Cornell Legal Studies Research Paper No. 17-05. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2904194 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2904194

Theodore Eisenberg

Cornell University, Law School (Deceased) ( email )

Myron Taylor Hall
Cornell University
Ithaca, NY 14853-4901
United States

Geoffrey P. Miller (Contact Author)

New York University School of Law ( email )

Center for the Study of Central Banks
40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States
212-998-6329 (Phone)
212-995-4590 (Fax)

Roy Germano

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

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