A federal judge is the latest to scrutinize Thornton Law

Boston Globe discusses the investigation into Thornton Law Firm’s billings practices

One expert on attorneys’ fees in class-action lawsuits said Wolf’s call for an investigation is extremely rare. Ted Frank, a lawyer at the Competitive Enterprise Institute think tank in Washington, said he has seen special masters appointed to review fees only twice — and in both cases the fees had not yet been awarded, unlike the State Street case.

“This is very serious,” said Frank, a leading national critic of legal fees in class-action lawsuits. “The judge is anticipating a real investigatory role for the special master. There’s $2 million in the pot — there’s no incentive to do a brief, perfunctory investigation.”

Judge Wolf could reduce the lawyers’ fees, Frank said, or he could impose sanctions ranging from a reprimand to a referral to the state Board of Bar Overseers or the US attorney.

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