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TOBACCO DEAL LAWYERS STAND TO GAIN

Private lawyers could get $14.7 billion in fees over 25 years from the tobacco industry's proposed $368.5 billion settlement of litigation brought by 40 states, the Seattle Times reported Sunday.

The lawyers, retained by state attorneys general to assist with the lawsuits, have contingency fee contracts that pay them up to 25 percent of any award to each state.

Under the proposed settlement, the largest fees would go to lawyers from Florida, who stand to get more than $2.4 billion of the state's estimated $9.8 billion payout over 25 years, according to an analysis done by the newspaper.

The newspaper based its figures on the $193.5 billion of the proposed settlement that has been divided among the states under a formula made public last month.

New York, which stands to get $21.8 billion under the deal, has promised its outside attorneys only 3 to 8 percent of the payout, or at least $654 million, the newspaper estimated.

Some states, such as California, did not hire any outside lawyers.

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