Lawyers Defend One-Third Cut of $85m

By Tom Mashberg
Boston Herald [Boston MA]
September 11, 2003

Attorneys in the Catholic Church sexual abuse settlement yesterday defended their one-third share of the $85 million accord, saying their "lawyers' payday" is diluted by the enormous cost of suing the Archdiocese of Boston.

"We have had as many as 20 people at one time working on these cases," said Roderick MacLeish Jr., an attorney with the law firm of Greenberg Traurig.

"No one did this for charitable purposes, but we certainly didn't make money on it," he said.

The firm's team scanned 55,000 pages of documents onto computers in one year alone, he said, and filed more than 40 legal briefs - some as long as 200 pages.

"This takes years off your life," he said. "No one does it for the money. Using the most conservative and realistic calculations, we actually lose money on this."

Attorney Carmen L. Durso of Boston said he realized observers would inevitably take aim at "the greedy lawyers." But Durso said he has devoted almost two years of practice to 40 abuse clients.

If his clients each receive the average settlement of $160,000, Durso would gross about $2.1 million. But that money must go to cover the expenses of running his law firm - salaries, rent, court fees, etc. - for 24 months. "No one is getting rich off this," he said. "Not the victims and certainly not the lawyers."

Eric Convey contributed to this report

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