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Former Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison Chairman Tower Snow Jr. has agreed to settle claims brought against him by a bankruptcy trustee in the 2003 implosion of the now infamous law firm. But he probably paid far less than the trustee’s initial demand of $2.7 million. Back-of-the-envelope calculations suggest it was below $400,000 � putting it below the amounts paid by three other former partners. On average, the settlement demand presented to former partners was about 16 percent of the initial demand. And according to court documents filed by the trustee, Snow was given a “discount,” in part because of two court rulings that followed the initial round of partner settlements. Snow, who is finishing out a contract with Clifford Chance and plans to start a business in May as a legal consultant and mediator, wouldn’t comment about the terms of the sealed settlement Wednesday. Neither would his lawyer, Cooley Godward partner John Dwyer, or an attorney for trustee Ronald Greenspan, Bennett Murphy of Hennigan, Bennett & Dorman. Greenspan sought $275 million from former partners, a figure representing what he said were partner distributions made after the firm was technically insolvent. But he’s collected less than $30 million. The first 207 partners to settle paid a collective $23.65 million, or about $114,000 per partner. Eleven partners haven’t agreed to settle. The proposed Snow settlement was struck last month following mediation before Coleman Fannin, a JAMS neutral and former Contra Costa County Superior Court judge. U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali will decide whether to approve the terms at a March 29 hearing. There had been no objections to the sealed settlement as of press time Wednesday, the last day objectors could lodge their complaints with the court. (Murphy noted that any good-faith objectors would have access to the settlement terms.) Greenspan wrote in court documents that he decided to issue Snow the “discount” last summer, after the former Brobeck chairman was granted a jury trial in U.S. District Court. “I concluded that I faced a significantly enhanced expense, inconvenience and delay resulting from the successful demand for jury trial made by [Snow],” Greenspan wrote. Additionally, Greenspan cited Snow’s contention that another ruling last July 6 weakened the trustee’s case. In that ruling, coming in a motion brought by a group of hold-out partners, Montali found that, as Greenspan put it, “former partners in adversary proceedings in Bankruptcy Court would be entitled to put on evidence as to the value of services they had rendered, and that such value could be considered by the Court in adjudicating the estate’s claims under Section 16957 of the Corporations Code.” In other words, the partners could point to work they’d performed to lessen any liability they might face for the distributions they’d received. Cecily Dumas, a partner with Friedman Dumas & Springwater who represents some of the hold-out partners, said “there is a fundamental difference in the way in which the trustee is evaluating the strength of his claim after the court’s ruling” in July. Meanwhile, attorneys for former Brobeck employees who have sued the estate face a March 29 hearing on their motion for class certification. “It is interesting that [Snow and the trustee] are settling now,” said Scott McNutt, a partner with McNutt & Litteneker working on behalf of the employees. “By settling, the trustee purchased Tower’s silence and his perspective on why Brobeck collapsed.” As of Wednesday evening, Murphy said he was busy processing paperwork on behalf of those Brobeck employees opting to accept the trustee’s settlement offer.

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