Weighing a key issue in the bankruptcy of the now-defunct law firm Howrey, a Washington, D.C., appeals court on Monday grappled with competing views on whether dissolved law firms can claim a portion of hourly fees from matters that departed partners brought to a new firm.

A panel at the District of Columbia Court of Appeals—comprised of Chief Judge Anna Blackburne-Rigsby, Associate Judge Corinne Beckwith and Senior Judge Vanessa Ruiz—heard oral arguments pitting Howrey’s bankruptcy trustee, Allan Diamond, against several large law firms that hired former Howrey partners around the time of the firm’s dissolution in 2011.

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