[CWG-Stewardship] Legal cost reality

Alan Greenberg alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca
Sat Jun 27 17:09:03 UTC 2015

I was going to wait until I got home to try to 
make a clear statement on this, but since things 
are heating up now, I will try here.

Regarding billing rates, I am WELL aware of this, 
but in the absence of any real information, I 
took a stab at a typical hourly rate.

The $500k charge may well include the CCWG, but 
the Board resolution was quite explicit. If it is 
wrong, that is yet another significant concern.

I personally found it amazing that, to my 
knowledge, during our (the CWG and CCWG) demands 
for external legal council, there were very few 
questions about getting estimates of what this 
might cost. This directly supports concerns by 
some Board members about the community being 
given budget responsibility with any associated 
interest in the results or implications of (some of) its decisions.

I find ALL of this discussion driven by the 
paucity of information rather perturbing, given 
that it is occurring within groups so 
(rightfully) enamored by transparency and accountability.

Someone mentioned that we have not yet seen the 
detailed bills. I certainly hope that SOMEONE had 
seen them prior to approving payment, and if we 
(ie ICANN staff or CWG/CCWG leadership) have 
them, I would be interested in understanding the 
reasons for them not being shared.


At 27/06/2015 12:26 PM, Greg Shatan wrote:
>I believe (but stand to be corrected) that 
>Sidley's bill covered their work with both the 
>CWG and CCWG.  Their efforts on both fronts 
>started in March 2015.  Also, Sidley's billing 
>rates vary by attorney, rather than there being 
>just a single rate per hour for all 
>attorneys.  (There are times when law firms will 
>agree to bill on a "blended rate" (i.e., all 
>hours cost the same regardless of the attorney) 
>but it's a relatively uncommon practice.)
>On Fri, Jun 26, 2015 at 12:56 AM, Alan Greenberg 
><<mailto:alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca>alan.greenberg at mcgill.ca> wrote:
>Actually Chuck, the Board motion was approval of 
>the costs incurred through 31 March 2015, and 
>Sidley Austin was only engaged on 6 March. So 
>that appears to be the charge for the first 3 weeks or so.
>My recollection is that they are billing a bit 
>under $1000 per hour, so that would amount (in 
>round numbers to 500 hours or 60 8-hour days in 25 calendar days.
>Our Sidley legal team consists of several 
>people, and presumably for the first week or so, 
>many of them were "catching up", which 
>presumably accounts for a fair part of this. 
>Then, Holly and Sharon were in Istanbul for several days.
>Overall, pretty high, but I am guessing the 
>remaining months had a lower per-month rate.
>At 25/06/2015 05:55 PM, Gomes, Chuck wrote
>>500k to date not per month.
>>Sent via the Samsung GALAXY S® 5, an AT&T 4G LTE smartphone
>>-------- Original message --------
>>From: Seun Ojedeji <<mailto:seun.ojedeji at gmail.com>seun.ojedeji at gmail.com>
>>Date:06/25/2015 5:42 PM (GMT-05:00)
>>To: James Gannon <<mailto:james at cyberinvasion.net>james at cyberinvasion.net>
>>Cc: <mailto:cwg-stewardship at icann.org>cwg-stewardship at icann.org
>>Subject: Re: [CWG-Stewardship] Legal cost reality
>>With due respect James, I am in no way 
>>belittling the work of legal council. I am 
>>rather wondering how we as a community 
>>recognising this huge cost did not better 
>>strategize on how/when to engage external 
>>council. The amount that has been spent on all 
>>participants of the ccwg and cwg(for 
>>remote/physical meetings) would seem to be 
>>competing with the total cost of legal advice 
>>(perhaps legal would even be more).
>>The deed has been done and we can't rewrite 
>>history. My comment is targeted more on the 
>>fact that we need to think of how we engage 
>>legal more efficiently going forward.
>>For the record, when Greg said top notch 
>>council are expensive, 500k monthly is just beyond my imagination!
>>sent from Google nexus 4
>>kindly excuse brevity and typos.
>>On 25 Jun 2015 18:23, "James Gannon" 
>><<mailto:james at cyberinvasion.net>james at cyberinvasion.net > wrote:
>>Our legal advice has been critical to our 
>>process and Sidley have been crucial to our successes.
>>I think we should be thanking them for their 
>>service, and yes top notch legal services are not cheap.
>>It is most certainly something that I have no 
>>issue with the community exercising its 
>>prudence over however lets not limit ourselves 
>>in any way to engage with our counsel.
>><<mailto:cwg-stewardship-bounces at icann.org> 
>>cwg-stewardship-bounces at icann.org> on behalf of Seun Ojedeji
>>Date: Thursday 25 June 2015 18:15
>>To: "<mailto:cwg-stewardship at icann.org> cwg-stewardship at icann.org"
>>Subject: [CWG-Stewardship] Legal cost reality
>>I hope those who want to always push issues to 
>>external legal advice would appreciate the need 
>>to be strategic and prudent about this. Over 
>>500,000USD already spent on Sidley is 
>>definitely not what we like ICANN to keep spending it's resources on.
>>sent from Google nexus 4
>>kindly excuse brevity and typos.
>>CWG-Stewardship mailing list
>><mailto:CWG-Stewardship at icann.org>CWG-Stewardship at icann.org
>CWG-Stewardship mailing list
><mailto:CWG-Stewardship at icann.org>CWG-Stewardship at icann.org
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