July 6, 2020 / 5:12 PM / a month ago

Law firms, including, Boies Schiller approved for up to $13 billion in PPP aid

(Reuters) - Some 15,000 law firms including the firm founded by famed litigator David Boies got the green light to receive up to $13.1 billion worth of federal loans meant to help struggling small businesses stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, official data released on Monday showed.

Boies Schiller Flexner, a top U.S. law firm where partners commonly earn seven-figure compensation, was approved to receive between $5 million to $10 million under the U.S. government’s Paycheck Protection Program, according to the data released by the U.S. Treasury Department and Small Business Administration. The firm is known for representing Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein against sexual-assault accusations, and companies ranging from Oracle to Theranos.

Edward Evans, a Boies Schiller spokesman, declined to comment on Monday.

Law firms have been hard hit by the pandemic, which dried up deal and trial work as courts and businesses closed. The legal sector in April lost 68,000 jobs, according to Labor Department data.

Reuters reported in June that the managing partners at Boies asked shareholder partners to authorize the firm to seek up to $20 million in forgivable government loans, two sources familiar with the matter said. That request had caused concern among some of the firm’s members, the two sources said.

At the time, the government and Boies declined to comment on whether it had actually applied for or received the money.

The data released on Monday show that 14,726 law firms, including Boies, were approved to receive a total of between $5.5 billion and $13.1 billion.

Other well-known law firms that got federal funding include Wiley Rein; Curtis, Mallet-Prevost, Colt & Mosle; Thompson & Knight; and Kasowitz Benson Torres.

Kasowitz, which once represented U.S. President Donald Trump, has about 240 attorneys and nearly $217 million in 2019 revenue, according to data from the American Lawyer magazine.

Emily Thall, a spokeswoman for the firm, on Monday said PPP aid allowed it to preserve hundreds of jobs at full salary despite court and office shutdowns.

Dallas-based Thompson & Knight, which has about 300 lawyers, said it applied for aid because its energy industry clients have been hard hit by the pandemic.

Representatives from Curtis and Wiley Rein, which also does lobbying work, did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Borrowers must certify “in good faith” that the aid is necessary after taking into account their business activity and their “ability to access other sources of liquidity.”

Boies Schiller does not disclose its financial information, but last year its shareholder partners earned an average of more than $3 million, according to the American Lawyer.

Founded in 1997, Boies Schiller has about 245 lawyers in the United States and the United Kingdom, according to the firm’s website. In 2019, the firm grossed $405 million, according to the American Lawyer. At least some of its partners bill more than $1,000 an hour, a source familiar with the firm said.

David Boies, the firm’s chairman, is well-known for representing the U.S. government in antitrust litigation against Microsoft Corp and former Vice President Al Gore in the U.S. Supreme Court case over the 2000 presidential election recount. He more recently advised failed blood-testing startup Theranos and Weinstein, who was convicted of sexual assault and rape in a New York court in February.

Since January, more than 30 partners have left the firm, Reuters has reported. Leaders of the firm have said many of the departures are tied to an internal restructuring.

Reporting by Caroline Spiezio; Additional reporting by Andy Sullivan; Editing by Noeleen Walder, Nick Zieminski, Jonathan Oatis and Sonya Hepinstall

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