Thursday, March 30, 2006

Ex-Gov George Ryan's big shot law firm finding out nothing is free

Winston & Strawn is the law firm that is defending former Illinois Governor George Ryan in his corruption and racketeering trial. "Clout heavy" is the best way to describe the firm; its CEO is Jim Thompson, one of Ryan's predecessors as governor.

Dan Webb, former US Attorney for Northern Illinois is Ryan's chief litigator.

Winston & Strawn is defending Ryan for free. It could be called pro-bono, the Ryan, although not rich, is certainly not poor. On Winston & Strawn's web site, there's a page dedicated to the firm's pro-bono work, curiously, the Ryan case is not among those proudly listed by Winston & Strawn.

The business section of the Chicago Tribune has an article about how expensive the free defense of George Ryan is for the firm.

Free registration may be required:

The cost of devoting Dan Webb, the firm's top litigator, and a small army of other lawyers to Ryan's criminal defense reportedly has cost Winston & Strawn almost $20 million. The tab stood at $10 million in November, the firm said. Indirect costs, such as a loss of new clients, are impossible to measure.

The decision to defend Ryan on a pro bono basis already has created serious dissension in the firm as partners fret that their share of the firm's profits has been dented by the cost, a source close to the case said. If Ryan has to be retried, the simmering discontent could turn into vocal resistance, the source said.

Webb, according to the Tribune, reportedly charges $750 an hour for his legal work.

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