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Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein scored more than $1.5 million in attorney fees Thursday for its work in the Swiss bank Holocaust litigation — and promptly gave it away. The beneficiary will be Columbia Law School; San Francisco-based Lieff Cabraser will donate the money to endow a chair that helps train people to legally assist victims of human rights abuses. In 1998, several Swiss banks agreed to pay $1.25 billion to settle claims by Holocaust survivors that the banks kept the assets of those killed in the Holocaust. On Thursday, U.S. District Judge Edward Korman for the Eastern District of New York approved Lieff Cabraser’s fee request, praising the firm’s work in the case as settlement class counsel. In his order, Korman noted that one of the lead lawyers in the case, New York University School of Law professor Burt Neuborne, recommended that Lieff Cabraser be paid more than it was asking. Korman also volunteered that if Lieff Cabraser had asked for more money, he would have approved it. There has been controversy over attorney fees in the Holocaust litigation. Neuborne has directed his anger at another lawyer for the class, Ed Fagan, while many Jewish groups say no lawyer should profit from the case. Lieff Cabraser did recover more than $470,000 in expenses.

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