How sweet it is: the Los Angeles office of Graham & James has at last secured victory in a drawn-out patent case that could bring in a contingency fee of more than $30 million. So why isn’t everyone smiling?

Maybe it’s because the fee came only after a tiring, two-trial, two-appeal court battle, but it may also be due to the internecine fighting in the L.A. office over who will get what and under what circumstances. And while dropping a $30 million money sack among any group of lawyers would likely result in a scramble, this fee fight takes on another dimension because Graham & James’ L.A. outpost — and indeed the entire firm — is suffering an exodus of attorneys and is lagging financially.

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