Meta Platforms Inc., the parent company of social media giants Facebook and Instagram, recently disclosed that it paid approximately $67 million to the law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr last year. This payment accounted for about 5% of the law firm's total revenue. The fees were related to WilmerHale's handling of antitrust and data-harvesting cases on behalf of Meta.
The disclosure of these fees was made because Robert Kimmitt, senior international counsel at WilmerHale, joined Meta's board in 2020. Under U.S. regulations, public companies are required to provide details about significant payments made to outside firms connected to certain directors. It's worth noting that Kimmitt has not provided any legal services to Meta since becoming a director, as stated in Meta's filing.
WilmerHale has been serving as legal counsel for Meta even before Kimmitt's appointment to the company's board. In fact, over the past three years, Meta has engaged WilmerHale in more than 3% of the cases the company has faced in U.S. federal courts, based on data from Bloomberg Law.
While the exact nature of the cases and legal services involved in this payment remains undisclosed, it is clear that the legal representation provided by WilmerHale has been crucial for Meta in navigating complex legal challenges related to antitrust and data privacy.
The disclosure of this payment sheds light on the significant legal expenses incurred by large technology companies like Meta as they navigate regulatory challenges and legal disputes. With the increasing scrutiny of data privacy and antitrust issues surrounding major tech platforms, the demand for legal expertise in this domain is expected to remain high.
The disclosure underscores the importance of legal representation for companies like Meta as they face complex legal challenges in the evolving landscape of technology and social media.