Allen & Overy’s Washington, D.C. offices (Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM)
Allen & Overy is suing a former client for $343,448 arising out of its work for the development and financing of a solar power facility in Panama.
The lawsuit follows a surge in large law firms suing clients for unpaid fees in recent years (NYLJ Dec. 2, 2016).
The firm filed suit earlier this month in Manhattan Supreme Court against Qohelet Panama Corp. and affiliate Entoria Group Limited.
The Magic Circle firm maintains that Qohelet never objected to its invoices and the client repeatedly claimed it would pay. But, the suit says, “defendants have failed to pay any amount for the extensive legal services that A&O provided.”
According to an April 2014 engagement letter, Allen & Overy gave Qohelet a 10 percent discount from its standard hourly rates. Billing on the matter were New York partners Mitchell Silk, whose $975 rate was discounted to $877, and Dorina Yessios, whose $925 rate was discounted to $832, according to court documents. Four associates, with rates between $594 and $360, were also listed on the matter.
The engagement letter is signed by Vincenzo Fagiuoli and David Gutierrez del Castillo, board members of Qohelet.
The firm said it communicated with them multiple times for payment. For instance, according to court documents, Silk wrote to Fagiuoli in October 2015, “Can you please let me know when we will be hearing back from you. The majority of the time cost on this file is well over a year old and I am under immense pressure from our finance department.”
Patrick Bonner Jr., a partner at Menz Bonner Komar & Koenigsberg who represents the firm, did not return a message seeking comment. Fagiuoli and Gutierrez del Castillo could not be reached.
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