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San Francisco—Almost 200 former Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison partners have agreed to fork over more than $22 million to rid themselves of liability for the firm’s collapse. As of Feb. 18, 189 partners had reached individual settlements with Ronald Greenspan, the trustee of Brobeck’s estate. According to papers filed by Greenspan, the settlements range from $4,732 to more than $500,000 and average $118,570 per partner. “These women and men had the good judgment and good character to settle this and accept their responsibility to creditors,” Greenspan’s attorney, Bennett Murphy, said last week. The filing does not cite the amount of each partner’s payment but notes that 30 partners would be paying less than $50,000, while three partners are paying more than $400,000. A changing calculus Greenspan alleges that the former partners took distributions and bonuses from the firm while it was essentially insolvent in 2001 and 2002. But the settlements amount to just 8% of the $275 million that Greenspan had said 224 former partners were liable for in the letters he sent to them in November. In that letter, he gave partners two deadlines to respond. But before the first one expired last month, he began filing individual suits against the partners. One of the attorneys for the former partners said he was shocked that so many had taken the offer. “A lot of people said ‘I’ll never settle, ever,’ ” he said. But they got scared, and “ the calculus changed” as a smaller group was left to fight the trustee. Greenspan’s motion indicated that 33 partners had not yet agreed to settle; a few others are off the hook due to death or illness. But Murphy, a partner at Hennigan Bennett & Dorman, said last week that an additional six partners have now sent in a signed agreement and deposit check, and he expects about nine other partners will do so by the end of the month. Former Brobeck chairman Tower Snow Jr. isn’t among the settling partners, but top litigation rainmaker Steven Zager has settled since the court filing. Greenspan must win the bankruptcy court’s approval of the individual settlement amounts he submitted on Feb. 18. According to the court document, approximately 1,145 creditors have filed claims against Brobeck totaling $258 million.

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