A $44 million contingency fee sought by Graubard Miller for its work on behalf of the widow of a New York real estate magnate should be cut to less than $16 million, according to a court referee’s report.

If confirmed, Graubard Miller’s award, with interest, could climb to about $25 million. But the sum is less than what the firm would have earned under the original 40 percent contingency arrangement Graubard had with its longtime client, Alice Lawrence, whose estate claimed the fee was unconscionable.

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