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A widely accepted tenet of the legal system in the United States, the American Rule maintains that each party to a litigation pays its own attorney fees unless a statute or contract provides otherwise. However, application of that statutory or contractual exception is not always clear cut. Nearly two years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court in Baker Botts v. Asarco, 135 S. Ct. 2158 (2015), held that the Bankruptcy Code does not explicitly permit courts to award attorney fees to professionals retained pursuant to §327 of the Bankruptcy Code for work performed in defending fee applications. While the bankruptcy bar’s reaction to Asarco was short of enthusiastic, most have since embraced the subsequent jurisprudence narrowly construing Asarco and limiting its holding to the compensation of bankruptcy estate professionals.

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