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Lawyers and other advisers could reap $371 million from work on American Airlines bankruptcy

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DALLAS — Lawyers and other specialists who worked on the American Airlines bankruptcy case could get $371 million plus expenses.

The biggest haul: $74.5 million in fees for Weil, Gotshal & Manges, American's lead bankruptcy law firm.

American hired lawyers, accountants, aircraft-finance specialists and other professionals during the two years that it spent in bankruptcy court. It left Chapter 11 protection in December under a plan that included a merger with US Airways. Creditors were repaid in full, and American's previous shareholders received stock in a new company formed by the merger, American Airlines Group Inc.

In a report to the bankruptcy judge who handled the case, fee examiner Robert Keach said the experts "collectively achieved a remarkable outcome." He said that a preference for negotiations over litigation saved more money than any scrutiny of the specialists' fees and expenses.

After Weil Gotshal, the next biggest fee recipients were the law firm of Debevoise & Plimpton, $53.7 million; Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, $32.6 million; financial advisers Rothschild Inc., $29.5 million; Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, a law firm that represented unsecured creditors, $27.8 million; and Paul Hastings law firm, $26.2 million. Six other firms would get at least $7 million each under the examiner's recommendations.

Fees paid to aircraft-value consultant SkyWorks Capital were confidential, the fee examiner said.

The examiner recommended paying expenses for all firms that would total $16.3 million.

The recommendations in the report, filed late Tuesday, go to federal bankruptcy Judge Sean Lane in New York. The judge scheduled a hearing for Tuesday.

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