Lawyer's $4.1 Million Fee Angers Holocaust Survivors
From 1996 to 1998, Burt Neuborne represented Holocaust survivors in a historic lawsuit that accused Swiss banks of helping the Nazis loot hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Jewish holdings. His labors helped win a $1.25 billion settlement.
A respected civil rights lawyer and law school professor, Mr. Neuborne did the work without asking a fee, and was widely praised for his central role in the case.
Then in 1999, Mr. Neuborne took on an expanded role — as lead lawyer for the thousands of Holocaust survivors worldwide. But over these seven years, as the complex settlement played out and the judge made the difficult decisions about which survivors would get how much money, bitterness grew and became anger.
Now the anger, within a small American group of Holocaust survivors, is seething. And it is directed at Mr. Neuborne. The 18 members of the group, who were already unhappy because they felt shortchanged by the settlement, are outraged that he filed a bill — for nearly $4.1 million — for his most recent work .
Several of the survivors said in interviews this week that they had thought Mr. Neuborne was still working pro bono. And now a lawyer for the group has filed a formal objection to Mr. Neuborne's fee.
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