"A million dollars isn't cool. You know what's cool? A billion dollars." -- Sean Parker, The Social Network


In 2009, when Irving Picard and his law firm, Baker & Hostetler, had been working as trustee on the Madoff case for less than a year, I observed that the firm had already been awarded total attorneys' fees of $37.5 million from SIPC with "no end in sight." Not a bad start for Picard, who Baker & Hostetler hired as a lateral partner in December 2008 after he was appointed to handle the Madoff matter.


By 2012, however, it had become clear that these early attorneys' fees of $37.5 million were little more than a rounding error for what had already come and what was on the way. In May 2012, DealBook reported that Picard's efforts had generated $554 million in legal and other fees, and that Picard estimated that his fees would reach $1 billion by 2014. That's billion--with a "B."


Now, as 2014 comes to a close, the most recent round of fee requests in the Madoff case confirm that Picard's legal and professional fees have, in fact, smashed through the $1 billion mark this year. Bloomberg reports that in a November 2014 court filing, Picard stated that the trustee's total fees for liquidating the Madoff firm and distributing the over $10 billion in assets recovered to date have now hit the ten-digit mark.  


On the trustee's website, Picard reported this week that as of December 22, 2014, his team has recovered or entered into agreements to recover approximately $10.499 billion--all of which will be distributed to Madoff victims (Picard's fees are paid separately by SIPC). To date, the trustee reported, it has distributed approximately $6.139 to victims. PIcard also recently sought court approval to distribute another $322 million.